Drug companies counter Trump’s Election Day vaccine promise with facts and science
After President Trump announced that a COVID-19 vaccine would arrive ahead of the November election, everybody was like, hold up, what? Because we cannot trust anything that comes out of the President’s mouth, public trust in a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine waned with two-thirds of voters saying they won’t get the vaccine immediately after it’s available. So on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, nine pharmaceutical companies released a joint letter promising the public that they are following every rule and protocol and that the eventual vaccine will be safe and will not be rushed.
As many people fear that the COVID-19 vaccine is being used as a pawn in the upcoming election, the nine drug companies developing vaccines (AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi) had to assure the public that they will do everything to create a timely and safe vaccine and that they are not influenced by the election or the President’s whims, and that the vaccine will arrive when it arrives.
— Adriel Bettelheim (@abettel) September 8, 2020
“We, the undersigned biopharmaceutical companies, want to make clear our on-going commitment to developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles,” read the open letter.
All vaccines will need to be submitted for emergency use or full FDA approval and the nine companies have pledged to not rush that process. They will submit their vaccines to the FDA for approval only after “demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study.” Per Politico, only three of the nine companies are in Phase 3 trials.
Once the drug companies submit their plans to the FDA for approval, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn assured the public on Twitter that they’ll do their part to safely guide the vaccines to approval. “We’ll continue to underscore that only science and data will drive FDA’s decisions,” Hahn tweeted, while adding that “FDA’s professional staff will only authorize or approve a [Covid-19] vaccine if it meets the high standards that Americans expect for safety and effectiveness.”
All this to say: We’ll let you know when the vaccine is ready, not the president.
As part of our commitment to transparency, I’ll be using this forum as one way to highlight FDA’s work, process, and important considerations of FDA’s professional staff related to bringing a safe & effective #COVID19 vaccine to the American public. #FDAVaccineFacts
— Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) September 8, 2020
While FDA is committed to expediting this work, we will not cut corners. We have not lost sight of our responsibility to ensure our decisions related to all medical products, including #COVID19 vaccines, are based on science and data. https://t.co/X4eo7J1VAU— Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) September 8, 2020
President Trump said during a press conference on Labor Day (via New York Mag) that the vaccine could arrive as early as next month, which goes against everything Doctor Fauci has stated in the past, who said the earliest vaccine arrival could be end of 2020.
“What I said is by the end of the year, but I think it could even be sooner than that,” Trump said on Monday. “It could be during the month of October, actually could be before November.”
It’s wild we live in a time where drug companies have to release statements that contradict the President’s remarks, but here we are.