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A huge amount of money and resource has been put into making the vaccines. They have been tested thoroughly on thousands of people all over the world.

Some people have been surprised to learn how a process which usually takes at least ten years could have been done in less than one.


Compared to other vaccine developments, this ground-breaking medical advancement was possible for a number of reasons:

This is not the first coronavirus

Scientists had already been working on possible vaccines for other coronaviruses. This gave them a head start when they started working on the Covid vaccines.

Clinical trials overlapped

The different phases of the Covid-19 clinical trials were delivered to overlap instead of running back-to-back which sped up the process.

Data was checked at the same time trials were happening

The data was checked as the tests happened and without any delay, so the experts at the medicines regulator, the MHRA, could review evidence as the trial was being delivered, ask questions along the way and request extra information as needed – instead of having to wait for all the information at the end of a trial.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK.

Recognised globally as an authority in its field, the agency plays a leading role in protecting and improving public health and supports innovation through scientific research and development.


Trials and research were a worldwide effort

Clinical trials were able to find people to test the vaccines very quickly as a global effort meant thousands of people were willing to volunteer. The worldwide effort meant researchers shared their coronavirus data with other scientists quickly.

Research was heavily funded

Funding for Covid vaccine research, ranging from the government to the private sector, was vital in making sure the Covid vaccines were developed so quickly and so safely.

High case rates

Clinical trials had faster results because high case rates are needed to test a vaccine’s effectiveness.

This content has been reviewed by clinicians and public health professionals Page last reviewed: 23 April, 2021