September 18, 2020
Governors, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, are publicly raising doubts about the FDA’s and the CDC’s ability to withstand pressure from President Donald Trump to develop a coronavirus vaccine at warp speed, Roll Call reported exclusively on September 17.
Those same officials are expressing skepticism about federal reviews of potential COVID-19 vaccines—with some going so far as to plan to independently analyze clinical trial data before distributing a vaccine, in a sign of how sharply trust in federal health agencies has fallen this year.
The wariness—which public health experts call highly unusual if not unprecedented—could undercut the goal of a cohesive national immunization strategy and create a patchwork of efforts that may sabotage hopes of containing the coronavirus.
State plans to review the data indicate how deeply any appearance of political meddling could disrupt vaccination and cost lives Roll Call says.
And it’s not a surprise that some red states appear more likely to rely on the Trump Administration, while blue states may scour the data and be more cautious about vaccinating their residents immediately.
- Seven jurisdictions indicated that they would analyze the data independently: California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Michigan, New York, Oregon and West Virginia.
- Another two—Montana and Wyoming—said they would only administer a vaccine that completed clinical trials and an outside committee’s review.
- Three states —Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma— indicated they would accept federal recommendations as usual.
“The president says he’s going to have a vaccine. CDC is talking about a vaccine in early November. How convenient. It’s going to be an Election Day miracle drug,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said earlier this month.
Cuomo referenced the FDA’s emergency use authorization earlier this year of a drug touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine, which the agency later withdrew after finding the drug was not effective against COVID-19 and could lead to dangerous heart conditions. “Some people are concerned that the vaccine may wind up being hydroxychloroquine,” he said, adding that the state health department will review the research before recommending that New Yorkers take any vaccine.
Nearly 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Research contact: @rollcall