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3 Dec, 2020 19:10

‘Superficial’: Fauci slams UK over hasty Pfizer vaccine approval, says FDA doing it ‘the correct way’

‘Superficial’: Fauci slams UK over hasty Pfizer vaccine approval, says FDA doing it ‘the correct way’

The UK’s approval of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 jab praised by the British politicians has drawn criticism from one of America’s top health officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said such haste could bring more harm than good.

In a rush to roll out the vaccine as soon as possible, the British regulators might not have scrutinized all the data properly, Fauci told Fox News on Thursday, as he spoke on why the US has fallen behind in approving the jab, developed by America’s Pfizer company together with Germany’s BioNTech.

“The way the FDA is, our FDA is doing it, is the correct way,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “We really scrutinize the data very carefully,” he added, explaining that the goal is to ensure the US public that the jab is safe and efficient as it could be.

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Speaking about the UK approach, the immunologist noted that it is unlikely to bring any additional benefits while involving some unnecessary risks like alienating the population and increasing the number of people reluctant to take the jab.

“I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people to take the vaccine because they're concerned about safety or they're concerned that we went too quickly,” Fauci said. “We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the FDA. The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead,” the immunologist added, arguing that would hardly make any difference in terms of the speed of the approval.

Still, he admitted that all regulators tasked with assessing the Covid-19 vaccines amid a raging pandemic could find themselves in a bind. “It's almost a damned if you do and you're damned if you don’t, because if you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated,” he said.

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The UK became the first nation to approve the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday. The move immediately received backing from the UK’s officials like Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who were lavish with their praises while declaring the UK a leader in the global fight against Covid-19 and simply a “much better” country that the rest of the western nations still hesitant to follow London’s lead.

The British public appeared to be much more skeptical, with many on social media giving both officials a cold shower. The UK Heath Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to get vaccinated live on TV to prove the jab is safe.

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