Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) released a joint statement on Tuesday that outlines three questions that they demand the Trump administration answer as the President repeatedly vows to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine by Election Day.
In late August, Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, sent a letter to state governors asking that they prepare to have vaccine distribution facilities be “fully operational” by Nov. 1.
However, TPM reported that officials from at least three states would likely refuse to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine if they believe it has not received adequate vetting by the federal government, or that it had been approved for political reasons.
In their joint statement, Biden and Harris criticized Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as “a political tool.”
Biden and Harris stated that they view a COVID-19 vaccine as a product of science and research.
“Its timing, approval, and distribution should be without regard to political calculation,” Biden and Harris wrote.
Biden and Harris urged against “a repeat of Trump’s testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) fiascos when it comes to a COVID-19 vaccine” because “the stakes are too high for working families across the country,” before going on to list three questions they demand that the Trump administration answer prior to the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine:
- 1. What criteria will be used to ensure a COVID-19 vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and efficacy?
- 2. Who will validate that the Administration’s decision to green light a COVID-19 vaccine is driven by science and not political motivation?
- 3. What is the plan to allocate and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans cost-free, safely, equitably, and without politics?
New Biden and Harris statement on a COVID-19 vaccine lays out three questions this Administration must answer to assure the American people that politics will play no role in the approval and distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. pic.twitter.com/iMgJ91zrs5
— Stef Feldman (@StefFeldman) September 8, 2020
The Biden campaign’s joint statement comes shortly after HHS Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News earlier Tuesday that he, the President and officials at the Food and Drug Administration “will require that any vaccine meet the very high safety and efficacy standards that the FDA has set.”
“The FDA has actually published transparent guidance to say what they will require for approval of a vaccine,” Azar told Fox News. “We will be transparent with the data. We’ll have a public advisory committee process for that. We will not compromise on the safety and efficacy of a vaccine, even as we move under President Trump’s leadership to get one as quickly as possible.”
Biden and Harris have recently casted doubt over the Trump administration’s approval process for a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, Biden told CBS that if the Trump administration developed a COVID-19 vaccine before the election, he “would want to see what the scientists said” and that he wants “full transparency on the vaccine.”
Biden also told CBS that one of the problems with the President is the way he is “playing with politics” given how “he’s said so many things that aren’t true.”
“I’m worried if we did have a really good vaccine people would be reluctant to take it. So, he is undermining public confidence,” Biden told CBS. “But pray God we have it. If I could get a vaccine tomorrow, I’d do it. If it cost me the election I would do it. We need a vaccine and we need it now. We have to listen to the scientists.”
Harris shared a similar sentiment during an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. Harris said that she “would not trust Donald Trump” if a COVID-19 vaccine is approved before the November presidential election.
“I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,” Harris said. “I would not take his word for it. He wants us to inject bleach — no, I will not take his word.”