Pelosi criticizes UK regulatory standards

Oct. 12, 2020

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, expressed distrust in the British vaccine testing safety regime, adding more fuel to an already politicized vaccine race.

During a press conference where Pelosi was discussing President Trump's reduced capacity following his COVID-19 diagnosis, a reporter asked Pelosi about UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This lead Pelosi into a comparison of UK and U.S. regulatory standards.

"We have very stringent rules about the Food and Drug Administration here about the number of clinical trials, timing, number of people etc so that when a drug is approved by the FDA and the scientific advisory committee that it’s safe and efficacious then it will have the trust of the American people to take it.... My concern is that the UK’s system for that kind of judgment is not on a par with ours in the United States," said Pelosi.

Pelosi's comments were met with backlash from the UK scientific community and political commentators alike. Vaccine approvals in the UK are governed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, not British prime ministers.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford University-developed vaccine now undergoing phase III trials, which were briefly halted over safety concerns in the UK but have yet to resume in the U.S.

The UK, like the U.S., is facing serious vaccine confidence issues when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines.

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