Was the development of the COVID-19 vaccines rushed or pushed through? Do we really know it’s safe?

Question: 

Was the development of the COVID-19 vaccines rushed or pushed through? Do we really know it’s safe?

Answer: 

There are a few ways to answer this, but in all cases, the conclusion that the medical and scientific community has made is that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

The medical and scientific community is confident in the vaccine’s safety, because of the track record of Canada (and B.C.’s) vaccine approval and safety monitoring system. While it’s true that normally vaccines take an average of 10 years to approve, this is because of several factors, most of which have nothing to do with the actual science. One obvious factor is funding - often, scientists have to look for funding after each phase in the development of a vaccine. This delays the work for years. In other words, rather than being able to pursue science, usually scientists take long pauses looking for funding. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, this was not an issue. The vaccines were available so quickly because of advances in science and technology, dedicated funding for research and development, and an incredible level of international collaboration, all the while making sure that no steps were skipped in either the development or the review.

Another reason that vaccine approvals take very long is again tied to funding but in a different way. Normally, the 3 different trial phases are done one at a time, because they don’t usually have the funding to conduct them all at once. Instead, this time all three phases were done at the same time with the help of volunteers and sufficient funding. Again, this means that the end data and safety tests are exactly the same as other vaccines that have been approved in Canada. It just took less time. In short, Canada’s system has proven time and again that the data necessary to get through the approval process is sufficient to prove safety, even for the long-term. Learn more about how B.C. will monitor vaccine uptake, safety and effectiveness.

 


Thoughts from British Columbians

Date last reviewed: 
Monday, Aug 02, 2021