We need a vaccine for Covid-19. It is a matter of life and death. At the same time, that vaccine has to be proven to be safe and effective, and if one gets rushed to market — especially if it’s timed for the general election — then I have said previously that I will not take it.
According to a recent CBS News poll, that same skepticism has grown among registered voters:
Just 21% of voters nationwide now say they would get a vaccine as soon as possible if one became available at no cost, down from 32% in late July. Most would consider it but would wait to see what happens to others before getting one.
In July, 51% said they would take a “wait and see” approach, and now that number has grown to 58%. Also, the proportion of people who said they will never take a Covid-19 vaccine increased from 17% to 21%. That’s one in five people.
This is bad news.
For there to be any possible return to “normal” life — something akin to what we had pre-pandemic — we need as many people as possible immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And the easiest way for us to get to that coveted “herd immunity,” without losing more than 2 million Americans, is to have as many people vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.
If this vaccine is rushed to market, there will not be enough trust from people — myself included — for the vaccine to be effective at curbing the pandemic. This is of critical importance, and that is why I am heartened by the statement put out by several vaccine developers that they will not bow to political pressure:
Following guidance from expert regulatory authorities such as FDA regarding the development of COVID-19 vaccines, consistent with existing standards and practices, and in the interest of public health, we pledge to:
Always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority.
Continue to adhere to high scientific and ethical standards regarding the conduct of clinical trials and the rigor of manufacturing processes.
Only submit for approval or emergency use authorization after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities such as FDA.
Work to ensure a sufficient supply and range of vaccine options, including those suitable for global access.
We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved.
I hope they stay true to this pledge.
Vaccines are an amazing thing, and they have saved us from the devastating effects of several devastating illnesses. That said, they need to be proven to be safe and effective. Rushing out a vaccine to satisfy the political monster is wrong on so many levels. And if the public doesn’t trust the vaccine, we are not getting out of this nightmare any time soon.