The head of the Food and Drug Administration told doctors on Monday that any vaccine for the novel coronavirus will get the same scrutiny as any other inoculation or drug.
"Let me assure you that we will not cut corners," Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a video briefing to the American Medical Association, according to CNN. "All of our decisions will continue to be based on good science and the same careful deliberative processes we have always used when reviewing medical products."
Three companies — Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca — already are conducting large-scale clinical trials of potential inoculations, with any of one of them ready by as early as October. Polls have indicated skepticism of any vaccine.
Fewer than half of those surveyed in an AP poll in May said they planned to get the inoculation if, and when, one became available, but 65% in a Gallup poll last week said they would get it.
"We hope that you will urge your patients to take an approved vaccine, so that we can seek to establish widespread immunity," Hahn said to doctors on the video conference.
Problematic in any vaccination program would be how fast drug companies could produce the doses in sufficient supplies.
Regarding treatments for those already infected, Hahn said more than 200 trials have begun on drugs and therapies for those suffering from COVID-19. However, he wouldn’t offer a timetable when they would be approved.
"I can promise you that when the data are available, FDA will review them, using its established rigorous and deliberative scientific process,” he said. “We all understand that only by engaging in an open review process and relying on good science and sound data can the public, and you as providers, have confidence in the integrity of our decisions.”
The FDA began a “Treatment Acceleration Program” in March to review potential drugs for COVID-19.
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