COVID-19 vaccine use before ending clinical tests

Some countries have officially approved COVID-19 vaccines before completing all necessary clinical tests to confirm their safety and efficacy. The World Health Organization warns that rushing to make a vaccine widely available could pose risks.

Russia officially approved in August a domestically developed vaccine for the coronavirus after only completing phase 2 in the normal 3-phase clinical testing process. It plans to start group vaccinations mainly for medical workers in November.

China also unveiled late last month that it began giving experimental domestic coronavirus vaccines to medical workers and quarantine officials in July.

This week, Stephen Hahn, the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said his agency is prepared to authorize a coronavirus vaccine before clinical trials are complete.

Usually, vaccines should undergo three stages of clinical tests on their safety and effectiveness to be officially approved.

Experts say giving vaccines to the general public without this process could be unusual.

Mike Ryan, the head of the World Health Organization's emergency program, acknowledged that countries have the right to decide whether to use vaccines. But he expressed concern saying, "If you move too quickly to vaccinate millions of people, you may miss certain adverse effects. "