FDA Vaccine Advisory chair answers questions about COVID vaccine

Dr. Arnold Monto leads the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee

University of Michigan’s Dr. Arnold Monto, a world-renowned expert in infectious disease prevention and vaccine effectiveness, held a Q&A on the Pfizer vaccine and emergency use authorization.

Monto, chair of the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, hosted an online chat Wednesday to reassure people that the speed in Operation Warp Speed is due to advances in science and large monetary contributions, not shortcuts in safety.



“Money talks and there have been a lot of investments put into vaccine development, which has resulted in large numbers of people being involved,” Monto said.

Those large studies have given the FDA a lot of data on the vaccines.

Millions of doses were manufactured before the studies were complete, which dramatically shortened the typical time frame.

“This is one of the major success stories of the response to the pandemic,” Monto said.

Monto was said the vaccines appear to be far more effective than the FDA’s original goal.

“Having this as at greater than 90% -- at least from the preliminary reports -- really changes everything. It should change people’s attitudes,” Monto said. “We can stop the pandemic through use of the current vaccines and though -- unfortunately -- the herd immunity that is building up because of bad behavior.”

He did say some groups will require more study with the vaccine.

“We do not expect very quick approval for children based on the results in adults,” Monto said. “There may need to be further studies in children.”

Will Monto get a vaccine if he’s authorized?

”I will get it. Since I’ve been happily living, not going outside, I want to be sure that those people who are more at risk get it first,” Monto said.

Monto stressed the only safety difference from what is traditionally done is that we have a shorter follow-up period because of the emergency situation the pandemic has created.

While most adverse reactions would be expected to occur in that time period, researchers will continue to monitor people who receive the vaccine for any future safety concerns.

Related: Will Michiganders be willing to get COVID-19 vaccine? Depends who you ask, study shows


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