The coronavirus vaccines currently being distributed in Britain are as safe as predicted in clinical trials, the country’s medicine regulator reported on Friday as part of continuous monitoring of the inoculation campaign.
The latest data, released by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, an independent body, found that the vaccines “meet strict regulatory standards for safety” and noted that “the benefits continue to far outweigh any known side effects.”
Two vaccines — one from Pfizer-BioNTech and one from AstraZeneca — are in use in Britain, and the vast majority of reported side effects have been mild and short lasting, reflecting a normal immune response, according to the regulator. The safety update report is based on the analysis of data from the beginning of the rollout in December until Jan. 24.
By that date, 5.4 million people had received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and another 1.5 million had been given the AstraZeneca vaccine. About three people out of every 1,000 who received a shot reported side effects.
Britain has made huge strides in its vaccine campaign. If it continues at its current rate, the nation is on track to offer an inoculation to all adults by the end of June. As of this week, more than 15 percent of the population had been given at least one coronavirus vaccine shot.
“Vaccines are the most effective way to protect against Covid-19 and save lives and prevent serious complications from this terrible virus,” said June Raine, the chief executive of the regulatory agency in a statement released with the report. “The data we have collected provides further reassurance that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and continue to meet the rigorous regulatory standards required for all vaccines. We remain confident that the benefits of these vaccines outweigh any risks.”
People with a previous history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it, the regulator noted, but that guidance had already been issued, and no new safety concerns were identified.