LONDON — America’s top infectious disease has apologized for suggesting authorities in the United Kingdom rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying he has “great faith” in the country’s regulators.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had sparked controversy with an earlier interview in which he said U.K. regulators hadn’t acted “as carefully” as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Fauci said late Thursday that he meant to say U.S. authorities do things differently than their British counterparts, not better, but his comments weren’t phrased properly.
Fauci told the BBC: “I do have great faith in both the scientific community and the regulatory community at the U.K., and anyone who knows me and my relationship with that over literally decades, you know that’s the case.”
After Fauci’s original comments, U.K. regulators went on the offensive. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said Friday that its personnel rigorously analyzed data on safety and effectiveness in the shortest time possible without compromising the thoroughness of their review.
The agency's comments came as the Times newspaper reported that the agency’s chief executive would give a series of radio interviews so she can speak directly to people who may be concerned about being vaccinated.
The media blitz comes after amid concerns that criticism of the approval process could undermine public confidence in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, leading some individuals to shun shots.