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Oxford vaccine researcher will take Pfizer jab when she is offered it

As a frontline health worker she is in line to be one of the first to be offered a Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr Maheshi Ramasamy is principal investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group, and also a consultant at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Despite being involved in the jab being developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca, Dr Ramasamy said she would take whatever is offered to her.

Speaking at a webinar as part of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Covid-19 Series, she said: “Next week I’m likely to be offered the Pfizer vaccine – while I would love to have the Oxford vaccine, I’m going to take whichever vaccine I’m offered.”

Her comments came as the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Wednesday, were due to arrive in the UK on Thursday.

She said she is hopeful the UK’s medicines regulator would approve the Oxford vaccine before the end of this year.

Commenting on whether people would be able to choose between vaccines, Dr Ramasamy said: “At the moment I think it’s going to be logistics that affect which vaccine you’re offered.

“For the first part of rollout, clearly it is going to be Pfizer, and later on there might be our vaccine or other vaccines coming along as well.

“But I think what’s really critical is good vaccine coverage in order to be able to reduce the peak of the epidemic and to prevent people getting sick.

“What we need is good vaccine coverage, and so you should take the vaccine that you are offered.”

Asked about anti-vaxxers, or people who are reluctant to get the jab, she said her understanding was that in general people are quite supportive of taking the vaccine and they understand the importance of it.

She added: “I think what you’ve got to do, and this is crucial as vaccine rollout happens, is that you’ve got to explain the rationale behind the need for vaccination.

“You’ve got to present the safety data, the efficacy data, and we’ve got to be as transparent as we can be so that people can make an informed choice and decide to take that vaccine or not.

“And I’m hopeful that people will. I personally will be offered the vaccine next week, and I will be taking whichever vaccine I’m offered.”

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