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UK regulator says COVID vaccines meet strict safety standards

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Doctor PJ Suresh injects a patient with the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the Fullwell Cross Medical Centre in Ilford, London, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.
Doctor PJ Suresh injects a patient with the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the Fullwell Cross Medical Centre in Ilford, London, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.   -   Copyright  Frank Augstein/AP Photo
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The UK's medicines regulator said that the COVID-19 vaccines continue to meet high safety standards in their first vaccine safety report.

The regulator is gathering data from those who have received the jab with the UK having so far vaccinated more than 10 million people.

Most of the reported side effects are "mild and short lasting", the agency said, after releasing data from 22,820 reports of suspected side effects from those who received the jab between 9 December 2020 and 24 January 2021.

Side effects were reported in just three of every 1,000 doses administered.

"These include sore arms and mild ‘flu-like’ symptoms, which reflect a normal immune response to vaccines and are short-lasting," the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said in a statement.

"Vaccines are the most effective way to protect against COVID-19 and save lives and prevent serious complications from this terrible virus," said Dr June Raine, the regulator's chief executive.

"The data we have collected provides further reassurance that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and continue to meet the rigorous regulatory standards required for all vaccines. We remain confident that the benefits of these vaccines outweigh any risks."

The UK was the first country in the west to authorise a coronavirus vaccine in early December and has launched a mass vaccination programme amid the spread of a new more transmissible variant.