New York will conduct its own review of a coronavirus vaccine even if the Food and Drug Administration approves one, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced, citing the Trump administration’s politicisation of the vaccine review process and federal messaging on Covid-19.
“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion,” Mr Cuomo said at a news conference on Thursday.
The Democratic governor will summon a panel of doctors, scientists and public health experts to review the trial data on an FDA-approved vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, he said.
Mr Cuomo is ordering the secondary review so he can “look at the camera and… say to New Yorkers that it’s safe to take.”
As Mr Trump has continued to apply public pressure on the FDA to speed up its process for testing the effectiveness and verifying the safety of a vaccine through clinical trials, public faith in a forthcoming administration-approved vaccine has plummeted.
Most Americans have said they will wait to take a Covid-19 vaccine rather than get it as soon as it is available, new polling indicates.
Despite the US passing a coronavirus death toll of 200,000 earlier this week, six of 10 people told an Axios/Ipsos poll they would not take the vaccine immediately.
That number is up from 53 per cent in August. Only 9 per cent of respondents to the most recent iteration of the poll said they will get the vaccine immediately, down from 17 per cent.
Thirty-three per cent told pollsters they are “not at all likely” to take the vaccine.
Public health officials at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have sought to assure Americans in recent weeks that whenever a vaccine is approved, it will be both safe and effective, even if the president’s messaging has raised concerns.
On Wednesday, the president suggested the White House could dismiss more rigorous guidelines for approving a Covid-19 vaccine, saying the new guidelines sounded like “a political move” intended to hinder progress toward a vaccine before the 2020 presidential election.
Career health officials and scientists have dismissed such claims of political subversion as ludicrous.
While Mr Trump continues to project the FDA will approve a vaccine before the 3 November elections, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has projected a gloomier timeline for the mass deployment of the vaccine in the US, saying it will not be available to most Americans until roughly the middle of next year.
“If you're asking me when is it going to be available to the American public so we can begin … to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” CDC Director Robert Redfield testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on last week.
Mr Redfield said there should be a viable vaccine available “sometime between November and December,” but that it will be in “very limited supply and will have to be prioritised” for people in vulnerable age groups and with pre-existing conditions.
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