Andy Burnham has urged the public to trust in the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine as it was approved by the UK's medicines regulator.

The vaccine, which is deemed to be 95 per cent effective, has been given the go ahead by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

It will be administered through care homes, GPs and pharmacists and in vaccination centres in large venues such as sports halls from next week and into the New Year.

During a press conference on Wednesday, the Mayor of Greater Manchester emphasised the rigorous checks that will have been conducted before the vaccine was approved.

Mr Burnham drew on his own experience as former Health Secretary during the 2009 swine flu epidemic as he did so.

Andy Burnham drew on his own experience as former Health Secretary during the 2009 swine flu epidemic

"I am one of very few people in the country who have had direct experience of the vaccine process during a pandemic and the processes that are taken to assess the safety and efficiency," he said.

"While there are things that can be done to quicken the process, I can absolutely give the assurance that nothing is ever done to cut corners in any way.

"I think it is really important for me to say that today as a former Health Secretary."

"They do it independently, thoroughly and people should have absolute confidence in the MHRA, who are in my view one of the world's leading medicines and vaccines regulators," he added.

Mr Burnham said he didn't believe there should be any concern about the process conducted to approve the vaccine.

He encouraged the public not to believe the 'scare stories' and to trust in the regulator, and to be ready to receive the vaccine as soon as it is made available.

The mayor issued his message with the caveat that it was important to 'manage expectations,' as he warned that the Pfizer vaccine is the most difficult of the three to store and move around.

"In the first instance it will be very much NHS staff who are at the focus of the vaccine," he said.

"We do have plans for a major vaccination centre which would be able to broaden out the delivery of the vaccine in due course."

Mr Burnham said that whilst he welcomed the approval of the vaccine, he was worried that the news could lead to complacency in Greater Manchester - particularly over Christmas.

He added that it would be easy for everyone to be "blindsided a little" by the news of the vaccine.

"There can't be any complacency here, people really do have to take care, particularly over the Christmas period," he said.