Vaccine development usually takes 10–20 years in part because each stage of the process is carried out sequentially to reduce financial risk should the vaccine not make it to the market. In response to COVID-19, the world has moved with unprecedented speed building in financial risk to speed up the process but not compromising on safety and efficacy.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) spoke with vaccine safety expert, Dr Robert Chen, Science Director of The Brighton Collaboration – the largest global organisation of scientific experts on vaccine safety – about how vaccine safety is assessed in clinical trials and how regulators and vaccine developers are ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines whilst also moving at great speed. Chen is also working with CEPI as part of the Safety Platform for Emergency vACcines (SPEAC) Project, to examine the safety profiles of the COVID-19 vaccines CEPI is funding.