President responds to news of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approval

Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said:

“The authorisation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is brilliant news and a historic moment providing a light at the end of a gloomy tunnel.

“This vaccine is an example of the extraordinary power of biomedical science demonstrating how medical research has played a vital role in helping us understand and respond to this virus. It will take time to achieve mass vaccination so we must not relax our guard against COVID-19 yet, in fact now is the time to strive to stay safe more than ever.

“We are fortunate to have an excellent regulatory system in the UK that has determined the vaccine has met stringent safety and quality standards, as well as confirming its effectiveness - all of the vital and rigorous steps have been taken to make sure this vaccine is safe.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does come with challenges such as storage at around -70C which is why I am pleased that there are other promising vaccines that could be approved for use soon, and I look forward to more good news within the comings months.

“To ensure good uptake of COVID-19 vaccines it is essential that public health messages around vaccination reach all parts of society, regardless of age, socio-economic background, ethnicity or language. The best way to do this is work hand in hand with different communities to understand the questions they have, to co-produce effective messages and understand the best ways to share them.

“This vaccine is a fantastic new tool in our defences against the virus, but we all still have a part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. I urge everyone to keep sticking to the measures, including the use of face coverings, social distancing, following the guidance on tier restrictions and isolating when sick. It is vital we all stay healthy to enable the NHS to support the roll out of this new vaccine.”



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