'Covid vaccine side effects will be very rare, if there's any at all': top immunologist

3 December 2020, 14:56 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 14:59

By Sam Sholli

This the moment an immunology expert told LBC he thinks the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine side effects will "be very rare, if [there are] any at all" when it is rolled out.

Sir Andrew McMichael, who is a Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford, made the comment while speaking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty.

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved for use in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccination to start as early as next week.

Officials said the vaccine will be made available "from next week" and hailed the news which makes the UK the first country in the world to have a clinically approved Covid-19 vaccine.

The jab has been shown in studies to be 95% effective and works in all age groups but needs to be stored at minus 70C.

The University of Oxford professor told Shelagh that altogether vaccine trials that have taken place for that vaccine and similar ones "probably covers well over 100,000 people in total".

He said: "It's safe so far. There's always a very tiny risk, I suppose. But I think it's going to be very safe and as someone who is over 70 I'm going to be chomping at the bit to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

He added: "It's monitored very closely and, as it's rolled out, information will come in and possible side effects. But I think they're going to be very rare, if any at all."

Shelagh then asked Professor Sir Andrew McMichael if the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine just prevents symptoms of Covid and whether somebody could still become infected with the virus once they have taken it.

He said: "We don't know for sure that you might be a carrier and not get disease.

"I think personally, it's pretty likely that if you're protected you're protected and you will not get infected...But there is a chance that some people might get infected a very low level and then secrete the virus and so be infectious.

"But this will be looked at very carefully as the vaccine is rolled out and it should become clear either way quite quickly."

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