Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reportedly concerned that the Trump administration will improperly rush the process of approving a vaccine for COVID-19 as a Hail Mary before the presidential elections this November.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that several health experts involved in the government’s efforts to find the vaccine fear how politics may interfere with their operations given how the White House had pushed for an October deadline.
Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s advisory panel for the vaccine, told the Times that “a lot” of those involved in the government’s efforts to find the vaccine are “very nervous” about the White House bypassing standard processes of approving new drugs to churn out the crucial vaccine as soon as possible.
“They are really worried about that,” Offit said of his colleagues. “And they should be.”
An administration official would not tell the Times if the FDA’s outside advisory committee would be allowed to vet a potential emergency approval of the vaccine.
“The rapid research, development, trials and eventual distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine is emblematic of President Trump’s highest priority: the health and safety of the American people,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement. “It has nothing to do with politics.”