Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has said she “would not trust” President Donald Trump’s word on the safety of any potential coronavirus vaccine.
“I will say that 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 in the clip of a CNN interview with Dana Bash released Saturday. “I will not take his word for it.”
Harris predicted when asked if she thought that public health experts would get the last word on the efficacy of a vaccine that scientists would be “muzzled.”
“If past is prologue that they will not, they’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined,” Harris said. She told Bash that the President was grasping in the remaining days leading up to the election “to get whatever he can to pretend he has been a leader on this issue when he is not.”
President Trump has pressured administration health officials to speed up the vaccine so that he can declare a win in response to the coronavirus pandemic that Democratic lawmakers and some prominent Republicans have said he has failed to adequately confront — as the death toll swells to roughly 188,000 since Mach.
The President last month suggested that the FDA had been infiltrated by a “deep state” that was intentionally slowing clinical trials in order to keep him from a vaccine win going into the presidential elections in November.
Several drug companies have since prepared to issue a joint statement pledging that they will not rush to release a vaccine that fails to meet rigorous measures of efficacy and safety.
Chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, told Science in an interview published Thursday that there has been “absolutely no interference” amid concerns of political meddling, adding that he would resign if at any time that became an issue or if he felt pressure from FDA regulators to push a half-baked vaccine out before it had been adequately tested.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany brushed away concerns that the FDA had been subject to undue pressure, saying at a press bringing Thursday that “no one is pressuring the FDA to do anything.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News in an interview that he trusted that FDA regulators would only approve a vaccine for distribution based on “hard data.”
On Thursday, he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto that he didn’t believe a vaccine would be approved for public use “unless it was indeed both safe and effective.”
He said that if that’s the case he “would not hesitate for a moment to take the vaccine myself and recommend it for my family.”