With the pandemic reportedly having killed over half a million Americans, a realistic question is, why does the public still need convincing to get the COVID-19 vaccination? As the Biden White House blame game continues, Joel Zinberg explains in the WSJ that Joe Biden and his cohorts spent 2020 (1) questioning the Food and Drug Administration’s independence and integrity and (2) fueling fears for political reasons.
- Kamala Harris maligned President Trump’s claims about the speed of vaccine development and questioned its safety and effectiveness.
- New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo cast doubt on FDA evaluations of Covid-19 vaccines and said states should conduct their own reviews.
- Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer questioned the safety of the vaccines in development stating that media “fact checkers” said rapid vaccine development would take a “miracle.”
“Medical authorities were complicit in stoking these fears,” writes Joel Zinberg. Dr. Zinberg, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a professor at New York’s Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, was senior economist and general counsel at the White House Council of Economic Advisors from 2017 to 2019.
Although June FDA guidance confirmed the agency wouldn’t “cut corners” and that expedited development would proceed “without sacrificing our standards for quality, safety, and efficacy,” a Sept. 10 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed that “some” were concerned that political appointees would “insist” on authorizing a vaccine “over the recommendation of FDA career scientists.” The concerned “some” were never named, and no citation was given.
The editorial claimed FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn had “indicated that the FDA is willing to use an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for vaccines before phase 3 trials are complete.” It cited an Aug. 7 JAMA article by three FDA officials including Dr. Hahn and Peter Marks, head of the FDA center responsible for vaccine reviews. In fact, that article, titled “Unwavering Regulatory Safeguards for COVID-19 Vaccines,” didn’t signal a loosening of standards. It committed to issuing an EUA only once clinical trials demonstrate safety and effectiveness, which FDA guidance indicated could be based on final analysis of a phase 3 trial or on interim analysis of such a trial that met specified success and safety criteria and after public discussion at the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
Now that Mr. Trump has left office, medical leaders and Mr. Biden are assuring us that Covid-19 vaccines are safe. It will take more than that to undo the public distrust created by the politicization of science.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for the Richardcyoung.com free weekly email.