FDA head pledges ‘we will not cut corners’ on coronavirus vaccine
The head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pledged Monday that the U.S. “will not cut corners” in its race to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told the American Medical Association (AMA) in a video briefing that he’s heard experts have wondered if the administration’s rush to develop a vaccine would jeopardize its safety, CNN reported.
“Let me assure you that we will not cut corners,” Hahn said. “All of our decisions will continue to be based on good science and the same careful deliberative processes we have always used when reviewing medical products.”
The commissioner acknowledged that he’s seen polls where large percentages of Americans report being unwilling to take the vaccine when it is released. A Gallup poll from last week reported that 35 percent of Americans would not get a free, FDA-approved vaccine.
Hahn reportedly told doctors with the AMA that they should urge their patients to get inoculated when they can so the U.S. “can seek to establish widespread immunity.”
The commissioner said more than 200 trials for COVID-19 vaccines have started but that he is unsure when the trial results will be available.
“I can promise you that when the data are available, FDA will review them, using its established rigorous and deliberative scientific process,” he said, according to CNN. “We all understand that only by engaging in an open review process and relying on good science and sound data can the public, and you as providers, have confidence in the integrity of our decisions.”
President Trump suggested last week that it is possible a vaccine could become available around Election Day in November, although public health experts have said this is unlikely with the current trajectory.
The U.S. has confirmed more than 5 million COVID-19 infections and at least 163,370 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.