8 December 2020
Today sees the start of rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with the first people receiving the vaccine in the UK outside of a clinical trial. To mark this landmark moment, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement.
Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:
“Science has delivered this important day in our fight against SARS-CoV-2 with the first people in the UK receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial. That we have a safe and effective vaccine so soon after the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 is testament to the dedication and hard work of many researchers around the world. We salute you all. As with all vaccines, safety is paramount and this Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has undergone rigorous safety tests, that have been assessed meticulously by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA). As standard procedure, this close monitoring of the vaccine will continue through rollout and beyond.
“While the rollout of this COVID-19 vaccine in the UK marks the start of a new chapter in the pandemic, it is certainly not the end of the story. Huge challenges still remain in terms of the logistics of rollout and ensuring enough doses of the vaccine are available. We must all continue to follow social distancing guidelines over the next few months to minimise virus spread until we have sufficient vaccine uptake. Building public confidence in the vaccine is also going to be crucial. It is essential that we have high profile and multifaceted campaigns that engage with communities to listen and respond to their questions around the vaccine. The British Society for Immunology and our members stand ready to play our part in what must be a collaborative and sustained effort.”