DURBAN – With governments desperate for a silver bullet to end the Coronavirus pandemic, coupled with a public anxious for good news. Experts are fearful that the approval of a Covid-19 vaccine might be driven more by politics than science.
In some parts of the world, governments have also taken over the production and dissemination of any Covid-19 related information. Russia recently announced a Covid-19 vaccine, while China has begun giving an unproven vaccine to its citizens. Both these vaccines had not undergone an evaluation process scientists say is essential for vaccine approval.
In the United States, a new survey from STAT and the Harris Poll, found that 78 percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, a reflection of concern that the Trump administration may give the green light to a vaccine prematurely.
According to reports the sentiment underscores rising speculation that President Trump may pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve or authorize emergency use of at least one Covid-19 vaccine prior to the Nov. 3 election, but before testing has been fully completed.
In an article which appeared in the New York Times, member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee Dr Paul Offit, was quoted saying: “There are a lot of people on the inside of this process who are very nervous about whether the administration is going to reach their hand into the Warp Speed bucket, pull out one or two or three vaccines, and say, ‘We’ve tested it on a few thousand people, it looks safe, and now we are going to roll it out’. They are really worried about that and they should be.”
Meanwhile, in South Africa, earlier this year members of the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), which advises the government on its response to the pandemic, grabbed headlines after they distanced themselves from some of the lockdown regulations which they said were “nonsensical” and “unscientific”.
“This strategy is not based on science and is completely unmeasured. It’s almost as if someone is sucking regulations out of their thumb and implementing rubbish, quite frankly,” said Dr Glenda Gray member of MAC.
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