Covid-19 vaccine’s safety to be taken ‘very seriously’ by regulators

The safety of any new coronavirus vaccine will be taken “very seriously” by regulators – with rigorous checks for the data, a former government chief scientific adviser has said.

Saturday, 21st November 2020, 1:26 pm

MHRA, which is completely independent of the Government, and other global regulatory agencies will look at the vaccine data in a “rigorous fashion”, he said, to ensure any vaccine’s safety.

Sir Mark continued: “The safety of the vaccine is very important, they will take it very seriously because we want a vaccine that works but we want one that is safe.”

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Professor Sir Mark Walport said he had “complete confidence” in the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Picture: PA.

While there was a danger of overpromising and underdelivering, he told the programme it did seem there was a vaccine that could be available within months.

Sir Mark also said that from a “long history” there was “no reason” to expect that a new coronavirus vaccine would have long-term side effects.

“There’s no reason to expect long-term side effects emerging. If there are going to be side effects there are the immediate ones,” he added.

Also speaking on Saturday, Professor Calum Semple, of Liverpool University and member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Breakfast he had “rolled up his sleeve” to be part of coronavirus vaccine trials because he had confidence in the science.

When asked if he had felt completely safe to have a jab, he said: “Absolutely yes and I have confidence in the science and the people who are doing this.”

GP Dr Sarah Jarvis also told the programme that people with suppressed immune systems should still be able to have vaccines because there was very little of the virus in them.

Speaking on Saturday, she explained: “What we do know is these are not live vaccines and that means that for instance, as with flu, we actively encourage people who had their immune system supressed to come forward for vaccination because there is no greater risk for them.

“This is not the whole virus you’re getting, it is a little teeny tiny bit of it and therefore it cannot cause an infection and you have even more to gain if you are vulnerable.

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