The out-of-the-blue announcement by Pfizer and Biontech saw a surge in share price value in British firms left devastated by the ravages of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Struggling travel companies British Airways and easyJet’s values accelerated into the air, BA’s parent group IAG shooting up 40 per cent to 146p, while the Budget airline rose by 30 per cent.
Rolls-Royce – one of Britain’s best-known names – climbed 38 per cent in a boost after serious job losses.
But the possibility of the restrictive coronavirus era coming to an end had an adverse effect on businesses that have profited from the stay-at-home theme of 2020.
Grocery giants Ocado slumped by 11 per cent as did takeaway titans Just Eat, who fell by 7 per cent.
The FTSE 100 jumped more than 5.5% on the news, adding £82 billion to the value of its shares in the market’s best day since March.
British Airways’ parent company IAG( left) and Roll Royce (right) rose after the announcement
Rolls-Royce – one of Britain’s best-known names – climbed 38 per cent in a boost after losses
BA’s parent company IAG suffered during the pandemic but received a boost today
The Government has procured 40 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, with 10 million doses being manufactured and available to the UK by the end of the year – if the vaccine is approved by regulators.
It covers 20 million people because the vaccine needs two doses of the jab, which has been found to be more than 90 per cent effective.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said care home residents and staff were among those who should be given the jab first.
Prioritisation for other people is linked to their age and risk.
EasyJet (left), which struggled due to travel restrictions, saw a boost while Ocado (right) fell
Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and chief executive, said: “Today is a great day for science and humanity.”
The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.
Pfizer and BioNTech plan to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration – the US medicines regulator – by the end of the month for emergency approval to use the vaccine.
The UK Government has secured about 100 million doses of the jab in an agreement with the companies.
Yesterday another 156 Covid deaths were reported across the UK, down from 162 a week earlier (graph pictured)
Some 20,572 cases were recorded, a fall of 2,682 on the previous Sunday’s total of 23,254 (graph pictured)
About 12 Covid-19 vaccines around the world are currently in the final stages of testing, but Pfizer’s is the first to report any results.
Dr Bourla said: “The first set of results from our Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19.”
He added: “We will continue to collect further data as the trial continues to enrol, for a final analysis planned when a total of 164 confirmed Covid-19 cases have accrued.
“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to make this important achievement possible.”