Britain boasts that it has won the coronavirus vaccine competition, and the question between the United States and Europe is not rigorous enough.
The first batch of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines made in Belgium arrived in the UK on the 4th through the Anglo-French Cross-Harbour Tunnel and are about to be distributed to hospitals around the world.
The United Kingdom was the first country to approve the emergency use of the vaccine. It rushed across the finish line first, triggering a war of words between Britain, the European Union and the United States.
While boasting, senior British officials did not forget to step on the European Union and the United States. The European Union and the United States question that the United Kingdom is hasty and the regulatory process is not rigorous.
Fauci, the “Captain of the Anti-epidemic Team” of the United States, joined the debate with ruthless words, which is particularly eye-catching. On the 4th, the global death toll from COVID-19 exceeded 1.5 million.
The number of new infections, deaths and hospitalizations in the United States, the worst outbreak, has reached record numbers.
The progress of vaccines casts a beam of sunshine on these gloomy figures, but the war of words between Britain and the United States and Europe has raised concerns. Is “vaccine nationalism” rising?
“We are much better than them”
The New York Times reported on the 4th that British and American officials debated how Britain could defeat the United States to approve the vaccine authorization first, which involved regulatory standards and politics.
The British Education Secretary Williamson proudly said that the United Kingdom won the competition because the country’s regulator was better.” We obviously have the best health care regulators, much better than the French, much better than the Belgians, and far more powerful than the Americans.”
In an interview with the London Broadcasting Corporation on the 3rd, he not only praised the government department, but also upgraded this boast to the whole country. “The UK was the first to authorize the use of this vaccine because we are much better than each of them, right?”
The British government approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on the 2nd under the emergency approval process. The procedure allows the UK drug regulator to temporarily approve the vaccine after 10 days of reviewing the data of large-scale trials.
The European Union’s delay in the official safety assessment of Pfizer/BioNTech and Modena vaccines means that Europe will not be vaccinated until next year and is lagging behind in the battle for vaccines, the British newspaper said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not discuss whether to urgently approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine until the 10th.
The Guardian said on the 4th that it was not clear whether Williamson was joking, but just before his remarks, British Health Secretary Hancock said that the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to ratify the vaccine because of “Brexit”.
This statement was quickly echoed by several cabinet ministers. Reuters commented that granting emergency use authorization for vaccines has been seen by many as a “political coup” by British Prime Minister Johnson. He led the UK out of the EU, but was criticized for the way he responded to the pandemic.
The European Drug Administration, which is responsible for approving the EU vaccine, issued a rare and strong statement saying that the UK puts speed above winning public trust.
The New York Times said that in fact, the United Kingdom is still under the EU’s regulatory umbrella in terms of drug and vaccine approval. Peter Marx, director of the FDA’s Biological Product Assessment and Research Center, also joined the debate on the 4th, saying that the United Kingdom defeated the United States to take the lead in approving vaccines because of the more cautiousness of U.S. regulators.
To the media’s surprise, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who usually dislikes open conflict, criticized the United Kingdom outright. He said in an interview with Fox News on the 3rd: “The UK is not careful enough.
If you are eager to achieve success and only do superficial work, people don’t want to go vaccinated.
By contrast, the FDA of the United States has a set of gold regulatory standards.” Later, Fauci again criticized the United Kingdom for rushing to approve the vaccine on CBS, just like “take a shortcut in the marathon and join at the last minute of the stage”.
According to Reuters, Fauci’s statement was heavily reported by major British television news channels. Rennes, director of the British Drug and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), immediately retorted, saying that there was no shortcut and no sloppy approval process.
The British government will counter global accusations that it is “irresponsible” for its rapid approval of the coronavirus vaccine, in order to prevent public confidence in vaccination from being damaged, The Times reported.
British health officials dismissed Fauci and others’ statements as sour grape psychology. MHRA issued a statement on 5, insisting that the UK’s approval of the vaccine meets all safety standards.
“Fauci stretches out an olive branch after the conflict.” Fauci appeared on the BBC later on the 3rd and looked a little frustrated, saying he apologized for it, The New York Times reported.”
We do things a little differently, that’s it not better, not worse, just different.” Fauci said the politicization of the pandemic in the United States has led regulators to take more cautious actions than the UK to avoid losing public support.
The British newspaper The Independent reported that Johnson was later forced to withdraw the cabinet minister’s statement. His spokesman welcomed Fauci’s change of attitude on the 5th.
The debate threatens confidence in vaccines.
Is “vaccine nationalism” rising? The Los Angeles Times said that Britain may be a case. For months, public health experts have been concerned about the phenomenon of “vaccine nationalism” – tout their efforts to fight the epidemic, sometimes at the expense of global cooperation and coordination.
While it is normal for world leaders to prioritize the interests of their own countries, it becomes dangerous when public health decisions are driven by domestic political concerns.
According to the New York Times, this round of debate between Britain and Europe and the United States is caused by “vaccine nationalism”. The newspaper said that whether the UK hastily approved the vaccine or the United States is wasting precious time, the question of dividing scientists and attracting politicians.
In the face of criticism from the U.S. and EU regulators, some British parliamentarians accused the EU of being “pretentious”. But scientists warn that the debate over which country’s regulatory system is better may undermine public confidence in vaccines.
Interpol orange warning:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global emergency, not a national affair.” The Financial Times commented that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine approval is a moving symbol of science transcending national boundaries: the vaccine was developed in Germany by the descendants of Turkish immigrants
Tested in Germany, the United States, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, produced in Belgium, and was first approved in the United Kingdom.” Vaccine nationalism has no place on COVID-19 or other public health issues of global significance,” Jeremy Faller, a British government science adviser, told The New York Times that science is the “exit strategy” of this dire pandemic, and that science is global.
Criminal gangs have targeted vaccines.
“Vaccines offer hope for ending the pandemic, but brutal months are ahead.” The Washington Post said it was a “slit-screen” moment: progress on vaccines meant that people can now just talk about what they want to do after the pandemic is over.
But at the same time, the number of COVID-19 infections has reached a new record, indicating that controlling the epidemic is still a frustrating and difficult task.
On the 4th, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide exceeded 65.11 million, and the death toll exceeded 1.5 million. The South China Morning Post said that on a weekly average, it is equivalent to losing one person’s life every nine seconds due to COVID-19.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, the number of new confirmed cases in the United States reached 217,000 and 2,900 new deaths was set on that day. U.S. President-elect Biden told CNN on the 3rd that he would require Americans to wear 100 days of masks after taking office. CNN said that this shows that Biden’s response to the epidemic will be completely different from Trump’s.
Fauci confirmed on the 4th that he accepted Biden’s invitation “on the spot” to serve as Biden’s chief medical adviser and become a member of his anti-epidemic team.
“The vaccine is coming, but does everyone want it?” Al Jazeera in Qatar reported that with the prevalence of online rumors, such as vaccinations, which will be injected into microchips, a challenge for the government now is how to persuade skeptical people.
Biden said on the 3rd that he would be vaccinated publicly to show the world its safety. Hancock, the British Health Secretary, also said that he would be vaccinated live on television.
Vaccines offer hope for the world, but they also face threats.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the 4th that Interpol sent a global orange notice to its 194 members on Wednesday night, warning criminal gangs calling the coronavirus vaccine “liquid gold” and that criminal organizations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt the supply chain as countries are preparing to launch the vaccine.
The newspaper said that the Orange Bulletin was a warning about serious and urgent threats to public safety.