'Not how we do things': British PM Boris Johnson on rumours of compulsory vaccination

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 02, 2020, 05:57 PM(IST)

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks at a sample at the Lateral Flow Testing Laboratory during a visit to the Public Health England site at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on November 27, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that COVID-19 vaccines should be voluntary, adding that the country will not make the vaccines mandatory

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that COVID-19 vaccines should be voluntary, adding that the country will not make the vaccines mandatory. 

Johnson added that he urges people to take the vaccine, but that it is not a part of “our culture or our ambition in this country to make vaccines mandatory”.

“That’s not how we do things”, he said.

On Wednesday, Britain became the world’s first to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for COVID-19, which is set to be rolled out starting next week.

"The government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for use," the British department of health said in a statement.

Also read: 'In Europe before the end of 2020': Pfizer-BioNTech files for EU approval of coronavirus vaccine

"The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week," the statement added.

People working in care home residents, along with health care workers and residents will be prioritised for the shot. Responding to the approval, Pfizer announced that Britain’s authorisation for emergency use is historic in the fight against coronavirus.

After the United Kingdom approved an emergency authorisation request for the general use of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the drug regulator of the European Union claimed that a longer process to ascertain the safety of vaccines is required.

Also read: UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for general use

It added that their approval process, which takes longer, is safer than the emergency use authorisation route taken by the UK. The European Medicines Agency said - “EMA considers that the conditional marketing authorisation is the most appropriate regulatory mechanism for use in the current pandemic emergency." 

Additionally, conditional authorisation leaves room for more evidence based roll out, and leaves space for more checks of the safety imbued in the vaccines, as opposed to the emergency process chosen by Britain.

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