Health officials in the US, including White House health advisory Dr. Anthony Fauci, assure the public of coronavirus vaccine safety.
“People are always saying, ’How do I know it’s safe? How do I know it’s effective? There’s a lot of confusion because there are mixed messages that are coming,” Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Facebook Live conversation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Health authorities reiterated that coronavirus vaccine safety is ensured through rigorous clinical trials to pass the federal government’s authorization amid concerns about the impact of politics on the process.
Dr. Fauci experienced that vaccine trials always involve an independent group of scientists, ethicists, vaccinologists, and statisticians. This group is known as a data and safety monitoring board (DSMB).
The DSMB tells the pharmaceutical company when its vaccine has been proven effective or safe or if trial participants manifest adverse reactions, according to Dr. Fauci.
Moreover, he said that a vaccine that has been proven effective and safe can easily receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and the data will be released publicly.
“We already know that a certain percentage of the population we still need to convince to get vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci said. “When a vaccine comes, we look at it as an important tool to supplement the public health measures that we do. It allows us to more quickly and with less stringency get back to some degree of normal,” he noted.
According to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the agency would only allow a coronavirus vaccine to have an emergency use authorization before late-stage clinical trials if the benefit outweighs the risks.
“In the end, FDA will not authorize or approve a vaccine that we would not feel comfortable giving to our families,” Hahn told lawmakers during a Senate hearing on the coronavirus.
Like Hahn, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services said that they would take a coronavirus vaccine that has been approved by the FDA.
Not a “fairy-tale” ending
However, another expert, Dale Fisher, professor of infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, warned that the public must manage their expectations when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines.
“I would see the vaccine as only helping (the situation),” Fisher said during his interview on CNBC’s Capital Connection.
“It’s not going to be the fairytale (ending) everyone wants it to be where we’ll have an 100% effective vaccine and 100% of people will take it, and they’ll all receive it over the course of a month and we can go back to our way of life,” he stressed.
He mentioned that there is a “pretty low benchmark” when it came to the efficacy of a coronavirus vaccine. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, “a Covid-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.”