THERE must be a balance in weighing up the positives and risks of rolling out any new Covid-19 vaccines, Bill Wiggin has said.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, North Herefordshire's Conservative MP Bill Wiggin urged governments, medical professionals, scientists and regulators to work together in addressing the threat of viruses.

Mr Wiggin welcomed the announcement of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with early data suggesting it protects more than 90% of people from developing Covid symptoms.

He said: "In a matter of weeks, I hope there will be an announcement of the phase three trials being completed and then the regulators will study the data before pronouncing if the vaccine is fit for the public.

"The problem is that different regulators around the world have different demands and requirements.

"This is plainly an area where we can assist the manufacturers both by ensuring that the process is accepted as safe globally, but also that the different demands which delay the final outcome can be agreed by the experts and the approvals process can become smoother.

"The pandemic reminds us that we're all people with the same biological makeup and we need to unite, rather than specialise to defeat the virus."

Mr Wiggin continued: "Of course, as soon as we can vaccinate those most at risk, the elderly, care workers and front-line staff, the sooner we can begin to rebuild the country and the economy.

"When the common flu or influenza arrived, it was very likely to result in death.

"Nowadays, we give those most vulnerable in our society a flu jab to ensure they remain safe and we can beat Covid-19 in the same way.

"By reaching phase 3, these vaccines are deemed to be safe, but what remains unanswered is how effective the vaccine is and this should not deter us from getting on with vaccinating more people."

The Conservative MP suggested that even if the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech had been found to be less effective than the '90%' indicated, the UK should still look at beginning its roll-out.

He said: "Yesterday's announcement by Pfizer was a promising step forward on this front.

"Normally, scientists strive for 70% to 80% efficiency.

"This means 70% to 80% effective in reducing the likelihood of contracting the virus.

"Therefore, even if it was lower, say 40%, we should still look at beginning the roll-out. 40% could be the difference between life and death for thousands and thousands of people."

The parliamentarian also said that "nothing in life comes without a degree of risk", in considering the usage of a vaccine.

He told MPs: "Now of course I understand people are concerned about the new vaccines, however despite the social media opportunities, less time should be spent on the anti-vaxxers and more on those who want to protect their parents and grandparents.

"Given the guidance given from the Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations, the current advice is that vaccines will not be administered to children, but to adults starting with the most elderly and working down to the over-50s.

"Detractors and anti-vaxxers believe that vaccines can be unsafe and vaccines, it is true, can run the risks of side-effects in some people, just as driving a car or riding a bike.

"Nothing in life comes without a degree of risk.

"Those people want to wait for the one in a million or even one in 10 million event to occur before we deploy."

Mr Wiggin added: "There must be a balance in this argument between Covid-19 and the risk to the 194 people who were killed by it yesterday.

"That's eight people every hour and this virus has killed over 49,000 people in this country alone.

"There is untold damage to people's well-being and mental health, livelihoods and the economy.

"Unemployment is rising and small businesses are closing.

"Social isolation inflicts vast damage, particularly on the old and the poor, but if you're vaccinated, the likelihood of dying from this disease is significantly reduced.

"It could prevent people from passing the disease on, often unknowingly, to those they love, their parents, their grandparents, and the Government and the World Health Organisation should address not just how we vaccinate, and the therapeutic trials and approvals, but lessons needs to be learned and procedures changed.

"The suffering and the loss of life for many can be reduced with collaboration and a reduction in bureaucracy, there must be a balance, weighing up the positives against the risks."

He concluded: "There is a way out and I hope the Government in this country and governments abroad, the manufacturers, scientists, medical professionals and regulators will work together to strive for a final resolution and a better way of addressing the threat of viruses in the future."

Health minister Jo Churchill said: "I agreed with (Mr Wiggin's) comment that we must protect the vulnerable, and continue to protect them as a priority, but I also agreed with much of what he said about making sure that we're moving at a pace, whilst never sacrificing safety or efficacy in order to drive forward and make sure both in therapeutics, but particularly in the area of vaccines, we are delivering as fast as we can."