The scientific chief officer of the MHRA, Dr Christian Schneider, announced the government strategy on Thursday, March 5. This means modified Covid jabs won’t need brand new approval or have to endure “lengthy” clinical trials. Dr Schneider said: “Our priority is to get effective vaccines to the public in as short a time as possible, without compromising on safety. “Should any modifications to authorised COVID-19 vaccines be necessary, this regulatory approach should help to do just that.”
He continued to say that the approach “demonstrates the strength of international partnerships with other regulators”.
Dr Schneider added: “Our global work can help ensure faster access to life-saving vaccines in the UK and around the world.
“The public should be confident that no vaccine would be approved unless the expected high standards of safety, quality and effectiveness are met.”
If virus mutations make current Covid vaccines less effective at preventing severe disease, the MHRA has approved speedy updates to the jab.
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Providing proof of safety
The vaccine manufacturers will still need to provide evidence of safety, which may include data from the original trials and ongoing studies.
This approach now granted to Covid modifications is based on the tried and tested regulatory process granted for seasonal flu vaccines.
So, as with annual flu jabs – that are modified each year – Covid vaccinations can now enjoy the same privileges.
With schools opening their doors to more children on Monday, March 8, wider sections of the population will be mixing.
For the best protection, people will need to get their second Covid jab, which can be up to 12 weeks from getting their first vaccination.
On Saturday, March 6, there were 6,040 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.
The continual easing of lockdown measures depends on the NHS not being overwhelmed by new coronavirus cases.
Thanks to the vaccines, severe disease from Covid is less likely, so hopefully hospitals will not be overstretched this spring and summer.