(BBC) – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, has said that the UK was not as rigorous as the US in its COVID-19 vaccine approval process.
The UK on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer vaccine for the coronavirus.
“The UK 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.”
The UK has defended its process, and said the jab is safe and effective.
Dr. June Raine, the head of the UK medicines regulator, on Wednesday said that “no corners had been cut” in vetting the job. 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 UK unless the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy are met,” the regulator said.
On Thursday, the UK’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told the BBC he was “very confident” in the MHRA.
He said there was more than “100 years of medical experience” between the UK regulator and the committee advising which groups of people are vaccinated first and UK education secretary Gavin Williamson attributed the UK’s expedited process to the regulator’s “brilliant clinicians”.
Dr. Fauci’s remarks come as the US surpasses 14 million total COVID-19 infections, with a recorded 274,648 deaths.