The chief executives of nine U.S. and European drug companies issued a letter on Tuesday, pledging not to seek approval before the safety of their COVID-19 vaccines has been proved in Phase 3 clinical trials, The Washington Post reports.
The letter was released amid growing concerns from public health officials, scientists, and doctors who feared the political pressures to get a vaccine out before the presidential election could risk the people’s safety.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had previously notified public health officials to prepare to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers and high-risk groups, with the dates as soon as late October or early November. This was after President Donald Trump made a speech on a COVID-19 vaccine arriving before the end of the year.
Health experts were fearing political pressures could make a vaccine pushed through before it was proven safe or effective. Following these developments, it was reported on Friday that vaccine developers were preparing to issue a joint pledge on safety standards.
Nine companies, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax, Merck, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and BioNTech, who are developing a candidate COVID-19 vaccine, signed the pledge that makes the well-being of the people a priority.
The statement read, “We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved.”
As the global race for a vaccine continues, this comes as a piece of relieving news. The chief executive of Pfizer’s
partner BioNTech, Ugur Sahin says, “We want it to be known that also in the current situation we are not willing to compromise safety and efficacy.”