Molecular Biology Professor Christine Carrington. (ICONS. NIHERST. GOV.TT)

As the Ministry of Health continues on its communication campaign to sensitise the population on vaccines, Molecular Biology Professor Christine Carrington alleyed concern over the rapid pace which a vaccine for COVID-19 was being developed.

Since the announcement that T&T is interested in at least one of the three frontrunning COVID-19 vaccines, concerns have been raised by citizens about the safety of any vaccine being developed considering how quickly progress is being made. And the concerns aren’t coming from quarters who identify with the “anti-vaxxer” movement.

Professor Carrington yesterday explained that while the world was racing to find a viable vaccine in the shortest space of time, it does not mean that “shortcuts” were taken and compromised its safety.

She explained that the length of time taken to develop a vaccine doesn’t always mean it’s better.

“Even when it takes a long time to get a vaccine- 10 years- a lot of that time is downtime. It’s time spent writing grant proposals. It’s time spent getting money, it’s time spent getting approvals. It’s time spent waiting, waiting a lot,” she said.

“In this case (COVID-19), what has been happening (is) because everybody is so focused- all the authorities, all the governments, all the people involved, all the stakeholders- are all focused on this one goal, that movement from one stage to another, all that downtime has been cut out. So there have been no shortcuts taken…it is just making it more efficient.”

She also explained that because the vaccine candidates have reached stage 3 trials indicates that they have been proven safe so far.

The three vaccine candidates currently at the head of the race are those being developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna. The Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh indicated a few weeks ago that the ministry was particularly interested in the Moderna vaccine.