US democratic vice president nominee Kamala Harris on September 5 reportedly said that President Donald Trump had a track record of suppressing expert opinion about coronavirus pandemic and now she is worried that it might happen again in the case of a prospective vaccine. In an interview with CNN, Harris said that she doesn’t trust Trump. She said that she ‘will not take his word’ and added that she would be convinced of the efficacy of a vaccine if someone ‘credible’ were vouching for the vaccine as well.
The United States is one of the worst-hit countries and the government is struggling to handle the outbreak. Trump, however, has repeatedly downplayed the pandemic and even dangled the possibility that a vaccine might be ready ahead of the November 3 US presidential election. Meanwhile, health experts are sceptical that the vaccine trials, which have to study potential side effects on a wide range of people before they can deliver a verdict, can be complete by late this year or even early next year.
While speaking to the international media outlet, Harris suggested that the US President might seize on a vaccine, no matter how untested, to burnish his image. She reportedly said that Trump is looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days and he is grasping for whatever he can get to pretend he can be a leader on this issue when he is not.
FDA willing to allow the use of vaccine before trials
Soon after Harris’ statement, the White House reportedly said that her suggestion that politics is influencing vaccine approvals ‘is not only false but is a danger to the American public’. White House officials have repeatedly pushed back concerns on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The World Health Organisation has shown apprehension after the US said that a vaccine for coronavirus might be approved without even completing full trials. However, the White House said that the US will continue to engage the international partners to ensure that they defeat the virus.
Even with growing concerns, the head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also indicated that he might allow the usage of America’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate before the traditional clinical trials are concluded. The FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn reportedly said that the COVID-19 vaccine research will be dominated by science, medicine and data and not politics. However, his statements reportedly sparked concerns among the public health experts about the apparent willingness to consider fast-tracking vaccine over the standard testing process.