Pfizer COVID Vaccine Approval in U.K. Prompts Wave of Memes Celebrating News

As the U.K. became the world's first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech, a wave of memes have been shared by Twitter users celebrating the news of the approval.

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted Wednesday: "Help is on its way," noting "the U.K. is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply."

The country's National Health Service (NHS) is ready to begin vaccinating people from early next week, according to Hancock.

Charlie Haynes, a producer and reporter at BBC News, shared a collage of two images noting "Christmas normally vs Christmas this year," which has received at least 3,900 likes and 718 retweets since it was tweeted.

One of the images featured a Christmas-themed red Coca Cola truck, while the other showed the same truck with a blue Pfizer logo backdrop.

Deirdre Heenan, a professor of social policy at Ulster University in Northern Ireland, tweeted a similar collage featuring the aforementioned two trucks, which has received at least 112 likes since it was first shared.

"Brilliant #Pfizervaccine news this morning - light at the end of the darkest tunnel. However. Most people will not be vaccinated until next year. Lets keep each other safe between now and mass rollout. Wear your mask, wash your hands and social distance. #vaccination," Heenan wrote in the tweet.

Christmas normally vs Christmas this year: pic.twitter.com/dCW8B2zhYQ

— Charlie Haynes (@charliehtweets) December 2, 2020

Author Rowan Coleman tweeted: "Hooray! For Vaccines! As soon as it's safe I'm having a party. You are all invited. #vaccination," with a meme of American actress Lucille Ball from the I Love Lucy television series pouring champagne into the air.

User @KathyBurke shared an image of characters from the Muppet Babies television series dressed as scientists, noting "Hurrah for the scientists!Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes #vaccine." The post has been received at least 6,400 likes and 469 retweets since it was first shared.

Hurrah for the scientists!😍 #vaccine pic.twitter.com/t5RGmFdyXZ

— kath 🙀😷❄️🇪🇺✊🏾 (@KathyBurke) December 2, 2020

Comedian Jane Godley shared a video of First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon with a voiceover noting: "Frank get the vaccine" #janeygodleyvoiceover #vaccine," in reference to the news that the first vaccines could be administered in Scotland in less than a week.

“Frank get the vaccine” #janeygodleyvoiceover #vaccine pic.twitter.com/UlFr52XMJL

— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) December 2, 2020

Sturgeon tweeted Wednesday: "There's no single sentence that has made me happier to utter in nine long months than this one - 'If we receive the first doses of vaccine as soon as we expect...I can confirm that the first vaccines against Covid will be administered in Scotland on 8 Dec - just 6 days from now'."

Harry Cole, a political editor at The Sun, a U.K. national newspaper, shared a meme of a child kicking their legs while laying on the floor, with the words "BREAK FREE: Brexit has helped UK become first country in the world to approve vaccine, Hancock says."

Hooray! For Vaccines!

As soon as it’s safe I’m having a party. You are all invited. #vaccination pic.twitter.com/FUjm7q2nWW

— Rowan Coleman (@rowancoleman) December 2, 2020

The U.K. has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, which is 95 percent effective against COVID-19. The amount ordered is enough to vaccinate 20 million people, with two shots required per person. Ten million of these doses are expected to arrive before the end of the year.

There are at least 212 COVID-19 vaccines being developed around the world, as of November 12, according to the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Forty-eight of these vaccine candidates are at their clinical evaluation stages, while 164 are under pre-clinical evaluation, according to WHO.

Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
A bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" featured next to logos of the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNtech, pictured on November 23. The U.K. approval of the vaccine co-developed by the two companies has prompted a wave of memes on Twitter celebrating the news. Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images

The wider picture

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 64 million people since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.

More than 1.4 million people have died worldwide and more than 41.1 million have recovered as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses secured by different countries.

COVID vaccine doses
STATISTA