The UK’s vaccine regulator has reassured Britons that the approval of a Covid-19 jab in the UK will not be rushed or compromised, as the government says everyone needs a chance to get immunized.
Dr June Raine, the chief of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said on Wednesday that the UK will maintain high standards through the Covid vaccine approval process.
Although we have adapted our processes to undertake our rigorous review of effectiveness and safety in a rolling way, there is absolutely no chance that we will compromise on standards of safety or effectiveness.
Speaking at a coronavirus data briefing from 10 Downing St, Raine said that “the safety of the public will always come first” and that the approval process involves meticulous examination and an independent layer of experts to guarantee the body’s impartiality.
The regulatory chief stated that the process does not finish after the vaccine is approved and added that the agency will continually monitor the product’s safety.
Raine also said the MHRA would be looking very carefully at the efficacy of the candidate vaccines on older people.
The vaccine chief was flanked by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK’s deputy chief medical officer, and Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.
Van-Tam said that the health authorities may need to make a decision based on the interim data provided by the vaccine developers, noting that distributing the jab with speed and ensuring high uptake are important in tackling the virus.
When questioned on whether vaccines will be available to purchase privately, Van-Tam said he would not approve of the idea, adding that the vaccines need to be available for those that need them, not just those who can afford them.
On Monday the world breathed a collective sigh of relief as pharmaceutical company Pfizer claimed its vaccine had a 90 percent success rate, an apparent breakthrough in the race to develop an effective and safe vaccine.
On Wednesday, the developers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine said that their formula was 92 percent effective and that no serious side effects were observed in large-scale Phase III clinical trials.
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