Nine pharmaceutical companies signed a vaccine safety pledge amid concerns that the Trump administration was rushing a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the election, Politico reports.
AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi all signed the joint pledge, vowing to only submit their vaccines for approval or emergency use authorization after a large phase III trial that meets FDA requirements.
“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,” the companies said.
AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer/BioNTech are already in Phase III trials.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has vowed that politics would not influence the agency’s decisions.
Concerns over Trump:
The pledge comes amid reports that President Donald Trump was aiming to fast track the AstraZeneca vaccine before November’s election.
"We'll have the vaccine soon, maybe before a special date. You know what date I'm talking about,” he teased on Monday.
Hahn disputed the reports.
"We’ll continue to underscore that only science and data will drive FDA’s decisions," he said. "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."
Kamala Harris “would not trust” Trump:
Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris told CNN that she “would not trust Donald Trump” on the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine.
Presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would take a “vaccine tomorrow” but would first “want to see what the scientists said.”
Moncef Slaoui, who is heading the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, pushed back on reports that a vaccine was being rushed.
"There is a very, very low chance that the trials that are running as we speak could read before the end of October,” he said. “I think it's extremely unlikely but not impossible, and therefore it's the right thing to do to be prepared in case."