The Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg have claimed that Brexit allowed the UK to authorise the use of the Pfizer vaccine before countries in the EU.
This is not true. The BBC fact checked it and said, “the fact that the UK is the first country in the world to approve this vaccine has got nothing directly to do with Brexit.”
The chief executive of the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Dr June Raine, has said that "we have been able to authorise the supply of this vaccine using provisions under European law, which exist until 1 January".
The BBC quoted Dr Raine saying, "Our speed or our progress has been totally dependent on the availability of data in our rolling review, and the rigorous assessment and independent advice we have received."
Even before approval the MHRA website said:
“However, if a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with strong supporting evidence of safety, quality and effectiveness from clinical trials becomes available before the end of the transition period, EU legislation allows for temporary authorisation of supply in the UK, based on the public health need.”
The MHRA gave temporary authorisation to the supply of specific batches of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine on 2 December 2020. EU member states could have used the same provisions but chose not to.