FDA: We feel the urgency, but we’re not going to cut any corners on safe COVID-19 vaccine


WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — As the race for a vaccine is heating up, health professionals are working to ensure the public an expedited process will yield a safe vaccine. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn says when it comes to approving a vaccine, his agency will follow the science.

“We feel the urgency at the FDA just like everybody else does. We want a vaccine that is safe and effective, as soon as possible. But we’re not going to cut any corners,” said Hahn.

This week the CEOs of nine bio-pharmaceutical companies published a joint statement, committing not to submit their vaccines to the FDA until their own trial, not politics, dictate they’re ready. Hahn says he applauds that decision.

“They have to make the decision about when the data are ready, and it’s reassuring to hear that,” said Hahn. “I wish we weren’t in an environment where one had to make those statements. But we are in the environment we’re in. There are lots of concerns about these issues. I’m very happy hearing these companies are going to follow good clinical practices, clinical trials.”

But Hahn says while approving a successful vaccine is one battle, convincing the public it’s safe is another.

“We need everyone to consider this, everyone to step up, and everyone to understand the process and help us in this endeavor,” said Hahn.

“We are talking to social media influencers like Kylie Jenner and TI and, again, Lady Gaga,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams during a congressional hearing Wednesday.

Adams says the medical community and lawmakers need to think outside the box to reassure Americans the vaccine process is safe, even if it means enlisting celebrity star power. “My kids will do something and believe it because they say it before they’ll believe it because I say it.”

Many Democrats like Senator Patty Murray say President Trump’s statements on a vaccine being ready before Election Day undermine the credibility of the vaccine process.

“We cannot allow President Trump to repeat his alarming pattern of putting politics ahead of science and public health,” said Murray.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander praised the administration’s efforts to fast track a vaccine.

“Thanks to an unprecedented effort by the private sector in our government…there is likely to be a COVID-19 vaccine ready for the most vulnerable citizens by the end of the year,” said Alexander.  

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