Coronavirus : Dr Fauci slams UK for rushing Pfizer coronavirus vaccine approval

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, on December 3 said the U.K. was not as rigorous as the U.S. health authorities in its COVID-19 vaccine approval process.

The U.K. on December 2 became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus.

“The U.K. did not do it as carefully,” he told Fox News. “If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated.”

“We really scrutinise the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine,” he said.

We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.K. did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead,” the 79-year-old expert said.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the fastest to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same developmental steps that normally span a decade.

The U.K. has defended its approval process, and said the jab is safe and effective.

Dr June Raine, the head of the U.K. medicines regulator, on December 2 said that “no corners had been cut” in vetting the jab. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviewed preliminary data on the vaccine trials dating back to June.

“No vaccine would be authorised for supply in the U.K. unless the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy are met,” the regulator said.

On December 3, the U.K.’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told the BBC he was “very confident” in the MHRA.

Dr. Fauci’s remarks come as the U.S. nears 14 million total COVID-19 infections, with a recorded 273,590 deaths.

The U.S., the worst-hit nation by the pandemic, is yet to approve any coronavirus vaccine.

The top doctor has said he believed that the U.S. would have vaccine approval soon, and defended the U.S. FDA and its review process.

The FDA plans to meet on December 10 to discuss approval for the U.K.-approved vaccine, which was created through a partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech.

They will meet again on December 17 to discuss a second vaccine – Moderna’s – request.

Dr. Fauci has led the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U.S. FDA) for more than 30 years, and has become the most visible member of the Trump administration’s White House’s coronavirus task force.