Vaccine Makers Deny Political Pressure in Race for Safe, Effective Shot
Leaders of the companies working on some of the top candidates for COVID-19 vaccines predict they should have shots available by early 2021, but said they will rely on the federal government to determine how to distribute them. The heads of five biopharmaceutical companies with promising vaccine candidates told members of Congress Tuesday that they think they will be able to produce a safe and effective vaccine by next year…. Trump has promised a vaccine by the end of the year, raising concerns among some Democrats that his administration would rush to approve one. But company executives said there has been no political pressure to speed up a vaccine and compromise safety or efficacy. “The FDA is not loosening any standards,” said Gerberding. But Rep. John P. Sarbanes, a Democrat who represents Maryland’s 3rd District, was skeptical. “There is a tension between safety and speed,” Sarbanes said. “Tell me why it is you are able to move so fast without sacrificing safety, when we lay that against what the normal procedures would be?” Company executives replied that their unusually fast timelines for vaccine development are a result of collaboration, extra funding for research, and prioritization from the FDA, including clear guidelines ahead of time on what will be needed for approval.