Cuomo: Public should be ‘very skeptical’ about COVID-19 vaccine

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Monday he was “not that confident” in the approval process for a possible coronavirus vaccine in place at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Cuomo also cast doubt on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stating that both the CDC and FDA are seen less credibly under the Trump administration. 

The New York governor, whose state has suffered tens of thousands of deaths from the coronavirus, also said the public lacks faith in how the administration will handle vaccine development. 

“I’m not that confident, but my opinion doesn’t matter. I don’t believe the American people are that confident,” Cuomo said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think it’s going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be.”

The governor said both the FDA and CDC “don’t have any credibility” under the Trump administration and that as a result others will need to vouch for a vaccine for people to have trust in it.

“I believe all across the country you’re going to need someone other than this FDA and this CDC saying it’s safe,” he said.

Cuomo pointed to comments by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, who said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday that the Trump administration had barred him from appearing on several shows.

“You have Dr. Fauci now saying that they basically tried to muzzle him,” Cuomo said. “He has the highest credibility in the nation on this issue.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have both expressed concerns about the safety and efficacy of a vaccine approved under the Trump administration.

“I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said in September. “At this moment, the American people can’t either.”

“If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it,” Harris said in the vice presidential debate earlier this month. “If Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.”

Trump has frequently spoken of a fast timeline for the development of a vaccine, something that critics say has raised concerns about the politicization of a vaccine.

The FDA has asked drugmakers to submit two months of safety data with any application for emergency approval for a coronavirus vaccine. The president, meanwhile, has repeatedly claimed a vaccine will be available by Election Day, contradicting some health officials. Trump implied in September that the FDA’s standards are an attempt to undermine him.

“That has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing last month.

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