After concern arose that the development of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine might be rushed for reasons other than public health, vaccine manufacturers have joined together to assure the public that no corners will be cut.
Last week, after it was revealed that the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention was making plans to potentially distribute a vaccine as early as the end of October, there was widespread concern that a vaccine might be released without careful attention to the standards expected by the public.
The race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 is now powered by the joint pledge by manufacturers. On Tuesday morning, the CEOs of nine pharmaceutical companies -- including AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer -- committed to “high ethical standards and sound scientific principles” as they work toward developing a vaccine.
The statement includes a pledge to “always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority" and to only submit a vaccine for approval or emergency authorization “after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a phase three clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities.”
The hope is that this pledge will “ensure public confidence” in the process.
“With increasing public concerns about the processes that we are using to develop these vaccines, and even more importantly, the processes that will be used to evaluate these vaccines, we saw it as critical to come out and reiterate our commitment that we will develop our products, our vaccines, using the highest ethical standards and the most scientific rigor processes,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said.
It’s essential that the scientific integrity of the process be reinforced so that people will actually get the vaccine if one is found to be safe and effective.
A USA Today poll found two-thirds of participants said they won’t get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it comes out. One in four said they don’t want to ever get one.
Pfizer officials have said there’s a chance that phase three data for their vaccine candidate might be available by the end of October, but that’s a big leap. Most experts are looking toward the end of 2020, and keep in mind, once a vaccine is available, the actual distribution is still a complicated process.