Public health specialist Dr Gabriel Scally has expressed his full confidence around the safety procedures used in the development of Covid-19 vaccines.
"It was who finished the race well that counted, not who was first," he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show when asked about concerns over the safety of the vaccine given the speed with which it had been produced.
“It’s not who's first out of the blocks, it'll depend on vaccine supply and it does take time.”
Dr Scally said that the fact that two doses will be required meant that it was going to take two months before someone would be “properly immunised.”
There was no doubt that safety was the main concern for all the regulators. “The safety processes have not been cut short on these vaccines, and I'm very, very confident about them.”
Dr Scally said he was also confident about the regulatory processes – in the UK, the European Union and in the USA. “it will be properly scrutinised.”
"Transparency was important," he added, "so the drug companies should make their data available."
"It was odd that when one bought an item in the supermarket all the ingredients were listed, but there wasn’t a full list on medicines, he said.
Dr Scally explained that the reason the development of a Covid-19 vaccine had been so swift, compared to vaccines in the past, was because of the large amounts of money that had been invested by governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The British government had taken out options on a number of vaccines, effectively “backing all the main horses in the race.”
The vaccine was going to “dig” the British government “out of a terrible hole” as their performance on Covid-19 to date had been “appalling, shambolic and they really need to make sure that this works well.”
"It was important that the vaccine would be distributed based on need, not wealth," he urged.
“The WHO has been fantastic in trying to ensure that it isn't a rich person's vaccine - that this vaccine will be shared with the countries on the basis of need, and I think that's tremendously important.”