White House pushes back WHO criticism that US coronavirus vaccine is moving too quickly
Russia granted regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine in August after less than two months of human testing, which has prompted some Western experts to question its safety and effectiveness.
U.S. public health officials and Pfizer Inc. said Thursday a vaccine could be ready for distribution as early as the end of October. This would be just before the US election on November 3 in which the pandemic is likely to be a major factor among voters deciding whether US President Donald Trump wins a second term.
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“We really don’t expect to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year,” Harris said at a UN briefing in Geneva.
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“This phase 3 has to take longer because we have to see how protective the vaccine really is and we also have to see how safe it is,” she added. This referred to the phase of vaccine research where large clinical trials in people are being conducted. Harris did not refer to any specific vaccine candidate.
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All data from the trials should be shared and compared, Harris said. “A lot of people have been vaccinated and what we don’t know is if the vaccine is working… at this point we don’t have a clear signal of whether or not it has the level of effectiveness and valid security… ”, she added.
WHO and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance are leading a global vaccine allocation plan called COVAX that aims to help buy and distribute vaccines fairly. The focus is first on immunizing those most at risk in each country, such as healthcare workers.
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COVAX aims to purchase and deliver 2 billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021, but some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they won’t would not join.
“Basically, the door is open. We are open. The goal of COVAX is to ensure that everyone on the planet has access to vaccines, ”said Harris.
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