Patients should be assured that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine is safe, says RCGP

Responding to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine receiving approval for use in the UK Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The safety of vaccines, as well as their efficacy, is paramount, so it’s excellent news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. This should offer optimism for further vaccines in development. Given the logistical challenges around delivery and storage associated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, it is likely the focus of its delivery will be in hospital hubs and mass vaccination centres. However, we’re awaiting details of this and how it will work – including if and how general practice will be involved, even if not directly delivering this particular vaccine.

“General practice will, of course, play a key role in delivering future vaccines that are more suitable for delivery at a community level – as we hope the Oxford vaccine will be, if it is approved for use by the regulators – and we’ve been preparing for this as best we can with the details we have. In the meantime, GPs and our teams will continue delivering vital care and services for patients, alongside delivering the expanded flu vaccination programme – itself essential in the Covid-19 pandemic response.

“Vaccines only work if people have them, so we would encourage anyone who is invited for a vaccine to have one. Now that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved by the MHRA, patients should be assured that it is safe.”

Further information

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574

Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.