Brexit drove UK’s quick COVID-19 vaccine approval process: Analyst

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More than 50 percent of healthcare industry professionals from Europe believe that Brexit allowed the UK to speed up its COVID-19 vaccines approval process, a new survey has revealed.

While the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine approval was commenced in accordance with the EU’s legislations, which allow any EU member to grant temporary authorization for a medicine in domestic markets, faster approval of the vaccine permitted the UK’s drive to get its troubled economy moving again, according to the analytics company GlobalData.

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“Even though other EU countries were able to use their own regulators to issue temporary authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, the same way as Britain did, the bloc members were encouraged to wait for the European Medicine Agency to grant approval first in order to follow a common vaccination deployment strategy,” said Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData.

“Small delays in vaccine approval and rollout can make a big difference in attempts to get back to normal and kick start economic growth, therefore, it is not a surprise to see the UK pushing on with speedy authorization and administration of the vaccines,” she added.

Almost one third (31 percent) of respondents from the UK said that the country’s departure from the bloc did not influence the fast-tracked authorization of COVID-19 vaccines.

For businesses, Brexit means increased bureaucratic burden as additional customs documentation and clearance are needed for the goods moving between the EU and the UK.

“Supply chain disruptions have been long highlighted as the biggest concern related to Brexit. The UK’s fast approval of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine may be seen as a strategic move, as it assured more efficient import of this EU-manufactured vaccine – at least initially avoiding any of the expected post-Brexit-imposed border delays or disruptions,” Jakimaviciute said.

In March the EU strengthened its regulations on exporting COVID-19 vaccines, giving rights to its members to block shipments to countries with better epidemiological situation, higher vaccination rate and greater availability or access to vaccines.

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