The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has asked pharmacists to show leadership in reassuring the public that Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
In a statement expressing confidence in the MHRA’s COVID-19 vaccine approval process, the Society said that pharmacists “have a central role in COVID-19 vaccination programmes at strategic and operational levels”.
Across all sectors, the statement added, pharmacists have a role in “advising the public and healthcare colleagues on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines”, and in “instilling confidence in the process and the vaccine itself”.
The Society congratulated the MHRA and pharmaceutical scientists on the rapid discovery and approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, commending the MHRA’s decision to undertake a ‘rolling review’ approach to COVID-19 vaccines. The RPS added that this had “enabled the evaluation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, as well as other ongoing vaccination candidates, to be completed in as short a timescale as possible” and that it was confident that the MHRA’s scientists and clinicians “have carried out the same rigorous processes as they would for the approval of any other vaccine or medicines”.
Gino Martini, chief scientist at the RPS, said that the MHRA is “world-renowned for its thorough and careful approach to regulation of medicines and vaccines.
“They have led the approval of many new and complex medicines in recent years, which have brought huge benefits to health.
“As the MHRA have approved the vaccine, I have full confidence that it is safe, and that pharmacists should support the MHRA and the vaccination programme now under way.”
The Pharmaceutical Journal’s feature ‘Ten things pharmacists should know about COVID-19 vaccines’ is kept updated regularly as further information emerges.