Dr. Anthony Fauci says the UK approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine too fast. 'If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated.'

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the UK approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine too fast. 'If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated.'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday said the UK had approved Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine too quickly.
  • The UK approved the companies' vaccine Wednesday, becoming the first Western nation to authorize a COVID-19 shot.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration is still analyzing trial results, however, and is expected to make a decision no earlier than December 10.
  • "The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead," Fauci told Fox News.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-disease expert in the US, says UK regulators were too quick to authorize Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine.

The UK on Wednesday became the first Western nation to authorize a COVID-19 shot, and vaccinations are expected to start next week. European Union politicians immediately criticized the move, calling it "hasty" and "problematic."

On Thursday, Fauci joined the chorus of critics. He told Fox News that UK regulators hadn't scrutinized the Pfizer trial data as "carefully" as the US Food and Drug Administration, and he warned that rapid approvals could reduce public confidence in the shot.
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The US is yet to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, and the FDA is expected to decide on Pfizer's shot no earlier than December 10, when the regulator has scheduled a panel of independent experts to evaluate it.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead."

"If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated," he said, adding the US would be there "very soon."
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Fauci, a world-renowned expert in infectious diseases, praised the FDA for its approach vetting the vaccine's trial data.

"We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the FDA," he said. "The way the FDA is, our FDA is doing it, is the correct way." "We really scrutinize the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine," Fauci said.
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"I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people to take the vaccine because they're concerned about safety or they're concerned that we went too quickly," he said.

Fauci's critiques do not necessarily mean the FDA won't ultimately authorize the vaccine for emergency use. Analysis conducted so far indicates the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19.

In November, Fauci said a COVID-19 vaccine could be available to all Americans as soon as April.
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