September 4, 2020
Forbes | President Trump has said a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready before Election Day on November 3, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just advised state public health officials to prepare to distribute one to high-risk populations as soon as late October or early November.
This comes on the heels of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn saying a vaccine could receive Emergency Use Authorization before the end of Phase III clinical trials—a statement that drew an outcry from public health experts concerned vaccine approval could be rushed for political reasons.
Top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci points to a slightly different timeline, saying in a September 3 CNN interview that, “I think most of the people feel it’s going to be November, December,” when we’ll see a vaccine released. “It is conceivable that you can have it by October, though I don’t think that that’s likely.” This was echoed by the Administration’s scientific adviser heading Operation Warp Speed, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who agreed that, “There is a very, very low chance that the trials that are running as we speak” could be ready by the end of October.
Science shouldn’t be political. Our nation’s greatest scientific minds are working overtime to speed treatments and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 to turn the tide on the global pandemic. There is no question that they are working for the good of the country and to save lives around the world.
But there is growing public opinion that politics is entering the vaccine development process. Several recent missteps on behalf of our nation’s public health agencies give the impression that they are bowing to pressure from the White House.