COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Could be Rushed to Public Ahead of Schedule

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AstraZeneca has pledged to deliver 30 million doses of their Covid-19 Vaccine by the end of this month. Moderna Inc and the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership are also on the verge of producing their vaccine, scheduled for mid-October.

The US government has told states to prepare for a November 1 vaccine candidate to be distributed widely.  The WHO has advised against approving any vaccinations without full testing, which will not be the case for the US vaccines.  In order to meet the rushed demands of the US government, the leading vaccine candidates will be pushing through without full clinical testing. 

The vaccine candidates have shown promise in early testing so far.  The smaller trials have been designed to flag any serious side effects of concerns.  The idea is to see whether or not these vaccine candidates can get a response from the immune system, while also not creating severe risks to those receiving the vaccine.  Large studies are what we use to show whether a vaccine candidate can work in the real world, and in order to meet the US government’s ready date, these large studies may be compromised.

Normally, the drug makers wait for final results before getting approval.  However, with the positive results being shown so far from these candidates, their studies are likely to be stopped and the candidates rushed to the public. To make matters worse, there will be high political pressure to approve a vaccine even if it has not gone through proper testing.

President Trump has said a vaccine is needed by the November 3 election and has accused the FDA of slowing the approval process purposely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked states in a letter to prepare for vaccine distribution sites to be “fully operational” by Nov. 1.

WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Monday “What’s going to be really important, I think, is to make decisions based on science.”  She warns that an “inadequately studied” vaccine could present safety problems or “low efficacy, thereby not doing the job of bringing an end to this pandemic.”

This is a developing story and we will have more updates in the future.  Be sure to check back at the ABN Blog for updates.

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