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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Professor Duncan Matthews speaks to South Korean radio on vaccine hesitancy and safety

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Professor Duncan Matthews, Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Director of the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute (QMIPRI) was interviewed by South Korean radio about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking to TBS eFM Radio, based in Seoul, South Korea, Professor Matthews discussed vaccine hesitancy, vaccine safety and how to interpret the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials data. He was also asked about the decision by some countries not to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to older people.

Professor Matthews said: “It was the Oxford University scientists who decided not to test the [AstraZeneca] vaccine on large groups of people aged over 65. They did that because they were being cautious, they decided to test it first on younger people because they felt that was safer. Here we are almost a year later and that lack of data has led many European countries to advise against the AstraZeneca vaccine for older people. We have seen other vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer who took a more strategic view of their trial and included larger cohorts of people aged over 65 […] there just weren’t the numbers there to give reassurance to the European medicines regulators.” Listen to the interview.

Professor Matthews is a world-leading expert on intellectual property and over the past 25 years he has worked across multiple international policy areas including access to medicines. He has advised the United Nations as well as the European Commission and in recent months has made several media appearances where he has discussed the wide-ranging legal implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More recently Professor Matthews wrote an opinion piece for The Conversation in which he argued that pharmaceutical companies should be more transparent when it comes to a potential Covid-19 vaccine. When it emerged that Russia had granted regulatory approval to a coronavirus vaccine after less than two months of testing, Professor Matthews was interviewed by Reuters, CNN, CBC, and the Times of India.