- Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that the UK had approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine too quickly.
- The UK approved Pfizer and German partner BioNTech's vaccine on Wednesday, becoming the first Western nation to authorize a COVID-19 shot.
- The US Food and Drug Administration is still analyzing trial results, and will make a decision on the vaccine December 10 at the earliest.
- "The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead," Fauci told Fox News on Thursday.
- "If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated," he added.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, has said UK regulators were too quick to authorize Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine.
The UK on Wednesday became the first Western nation to authorize a COVID-19 shot, and vaccinations will start next week. EU politicians immediately criticized the move, calling it "hasty" and "problematic."
On Thursday, Fauci joined the chorus of critics. He told Fox News Thursday that UK regulators hadn't scrutinized the Pfizer trial data as "carefully" as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and warned that rapid approvals could reduce public confidence in the shot.
The US is yet to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, and the FDA will decide on Pfizer's shot December 10 at the earliest.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead."
"If you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated," he said, adding the US will be there "very soon."
The FDA has arranged a meeting of an independent expert panel to evaluate the Pfizer vaccine, which studies suggest is 95% effective, for December 10.
Fauci, a world-renowned expert in infectious diseases, praised the FDA for its thorough research of vaccine trial data.
"We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the FDA," he said. "The way the FDA is, our FDA is doing it, is the correct way."
"We really scrutinize the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine," Fauci said.
"I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people to take the vaccine because they're concerned about safety or they're concerned that we went too quickly," he said.
In November, Fauci said a COVID-19 vaccine could be available to all Americans as soon as April.
Unanswered questions about the Pfizer vaccine remain, including around its long-term safety.
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