Why is then that not all countries have licensed vaccines? Well not all vaccines are equal. Vaccines which have been licensed right now are vaccines which are similar to traditional seasonal vaccines, and in these, they are not new vaccines, and are registered by the USFDA, for example, a strain variation variation of seasonal vaccines. For some newer vaccines in a number of countries, they will need to have a bit more time to look at the dossier with more scrutiny, I may say, because this will be considered as new and therefore certain vaccines may take a little bit longer to be licensed and this due to the consideration. The overarching consideration that national regulatory authorities are given to safety.
Now these vaccines are here, today. They will not be all. All the doses will not be available on the first day. This is quite obvious. They had started now to be deployed. The first country to deploy was China, and the Chinese have reported that 34,000 people have been immunized in the area of Beijing. Other countries are following suit. Hungary has indicated their intentions to start a roll-out vaccination campaign, on the 29th of September, so this is next week, and other countries will follow suit.
Safety? Well, there has been a report of 14 of these adverse events in China. Out of 44,000 vaccinated all these adverse events have been reported were mild. Many of them may not even be associated with the vaccine. And this is about the range that you will expect for any seasonal vaccine or any vaccine as a matter of fact. There is dizziness, headache, something which is quite common, when we administer vaccines.
So is there a chance that there will be more adverse events, yes of course. There could be and these volunteers will need to be followed a lit bit longer than what we know from the outcome of the vaccination right now. And it may be when millions of population are vaccinated, there would be some incidents of severe adverse events. So these adverse events will either be investigated, all of them, and then the investigators will find that either yes, they are associated with the vaccines, and immediately, this will prompt more research into seeing if other people receiving the same type of vaccines also have had adverse events. But the vast majority will be unrelated. Because when you vaccinate thousands and millions of people, of course, some of them were going to have heart attacks, some women were going to have miscarriages, and these may – because they have just been vaccinated –be associated in the mind of people with vaccinations. So there will need to be some careful analysis, to try to see which adverse event, which is really a worry, is associated with vaccination, and which are only co-incidental.—Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research, World Health Organization, 24 September 2009