Our alumna and Honorary Fellow Dame June Raine (1971, Physiology) has been awarded a DBE in recognition of her service to the public as Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
An executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care with around 1200 staff, the MHRA is responsible for making sure that healthcare products in the UK are safe and effective. Under Dame June’s leadership, the group became the first regulatory body in the world to approve the use of a Covid-19 vaccine when it signed off the Pfizer-BioNTech RNA vaccine on December 2nd 2020.
The first dose was administered to Margaret Keenan at University Hospital in Coventry just 6 days later. By September 2021, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam, estimated that over 112,000 lives had been saved by the UK’s largest-ever immunisation campaign.
Dame June Raine and her team had the difficult task of balancing the need for brand new treatments to be safe for the public with the urgent need to begin saving lives as quickly as possible. With an approach that stressed co-operation within across borders, she ensured that the UK’s labs had already begun working on the virus before it reached Britain’s shores.
“I am delighted, but somewhat overwhelmed,” said Dame June.
“This honour is in recognition of the work of so many people at the MHRA, who work tirelessly to ensure that vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices are safe and effective for people across the UK.”
“Effective regulation is vital to ensuring that everyone can have confidence in medicines. I hope this recognition inspires more young people to seize the opportunities offered by careers in science, research, regulation and public health.”
Dame June will be joining us as our guest of honour at this year’s Spring Meeting on March 5th in her capacity as President of the Somerville Medics Association to speak about her work during the pandemic. Look out in your emails for further information about how to register, or visit https://www.some.ox.ac.uk/news-events/event/spring-meeting/ where further details will be shared in due course.
Read our exclusive interview with Dame June Raine ‘A Prepared Mind: Dr June Raine on Approving the Vaccines’, here: https://www.some.ox.ac.uk/news/a-prepared-mind-dr-june-raine-on-approving-the-vaccines/
If you are a Somervillian who has been recognised in the New Year Honours, we would be delighted to hear from you. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org