An Imperial expert has addressed public concerns over the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in a wide-ranging interview.

Professor Robin Shattock, from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, tackled some of the concerns associated with COVID-19 vaccines, such as worries about long-term side effects, and outlined why it is important for people to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Vaccine hesitancy could be a potential barrier facing the UK’s COVID-19 immunisation programme as it expands across the population and the World Health Organisation has declared it one of the top ten threats to global health.

More than six million people in the UK have been given their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but there are concerns about uptake in ethnic minority groups. A recent report found that up to 72 per cent of Black people said they were unlikely to have the vaccine.

Addressing concerns

Professor Shattock, who is leading work to use RNA Vaccine technology on developing vaccines that could target coronavirus mutations and provide boosters for current vaccines,  talks about widespread misinformation about the vaccines, responds to concerns about the speed of their development and approval, and the potential implications if people do not take up the opportunity to be vaccinated.

He said: “I know there has been concerns about the safety of these vaccines but these are theoretical risks which are so much smaller than getting the virus and potentially becoming very ill or transferring it to a loved one. These vaccines will save a huge number of lives and I urge those who are reluctant to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated.”