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Lionel Laurent

The Vaccine Approval Fight Is a Dangerous Game

Regulators face a pandemic dilemma: Move too slow and lose lives, or move too fast and lose trust.

A new front in the war against Covid-19.

A new front in the war against Covid-19.

Photographer: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Drug regulators only have two speeds, as an old gag puts it: Too fast, and too slow. That’s certainly the perception in this pandemic.

As Western nations begin to roll out the first batch of promising vaccines against Covid-19, with the U.K. leading the charge and the U.S. the latest to follow suit, the gatekeepers whose job it is to supervise their efficacy, safety and distribution are in a very tough spot.