Was the Covid-19 Vaccine Rushed? Dr. Norman Swan

covid-19 vaccine rushed

Was the Covid-19 Vaccine Rushed?

It’s a bit of a myth that the COVID 19 vaccines were developed quickly. In fact, the COVID vaccines in use now were ready to go in January 2020.  This was the result of a challenge a few years ago for researchers to develop a vaccine technology that would be able to produce a vaccine within 16 weeks to a new virus. And about four or five different technologies won. 

One was the University of Queensland vaccine, another was the Oxford University (now AstraZeneca) viral vector vaccine type technology, as well as the mRNA vaccines which now include Pfizer and Moderna. So they were kind of ready to go. And within a few days or weeks of the genetic structure of the coronavirus being known, the vaccine researchers and companies were designing COVID-specific vaccines, testing them, and then putting them into clinical trials. 

The clinical trials did go quickly but that was because there was so much COVID around.  There were so many people in the world exposed to coronavirus that the vaccine developers were able to recruit large numbers of people in an unprecedented short space of time. And because participants were exposed to the virus in such large numbers within a very short time, they knew whether the vaccines worked. That’s why they were able to do it so quickly. It’s a process that normally takes years, because it’s very slow to recruit people. In addition, there’s normally not much virus around. So, it takes a while to find out whether or not the vaccine works. In the case of COVID that happened in a very short space of time because unfortunately we’re in the middle of this vast pandemic. 

So, in fact, these vaccines have been approved with roughly the same amount of data that a vaccine is normally approved of. And these rare side effects that you see now, would have normally taken two or three years to appear and may not have been noticed at all.

Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist

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