The UK has become the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

The MHRA, a British regulator, has said today that the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which offers up to 95 per cent protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe for rollout next week.

Following the announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News: “We can now see the way out and we can see by the spring we’re going to be through this.

“Let’s not let up and lose our resolve now.”

Immunisations could start within days for those who need it the most, such as elderly people in care homes.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses so far which could provide vaccination for 20 million people in the country.

About 800,000 doses are set to arrive in the UK in the coming days, with 10m doses being available soon.

It has taken 10 months to develop – making the vaccine to quickest to ever go from concept to reality.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted this morning: “Help is on its way.

“The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19.

“The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.

“The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.”

The Argus: Pfizer/BioNTech jab means we now see a way out by Spring, says Matt HancockPfizer/BioNTech jab means we now see a way out by Spring, says Matt Hancock

Prof Danny Altman, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, said news of the approval was "momentous".

"We have the first emergency approval for use of a really effective vaccine. Truly heroic."