No, political interests have not warped the vaccine approval process. Over at Elemental, journalist Tara Haelle spoke with medical experts about the coming Covid vaccine and why we should feel secure that a vaccine’s distribution is a reflection of its efficacy — not a politician’s deep pockets.
“Safeguards are in place to really limit the ability of any one scientist in being unethical,” says Michele Andrasik, the director of social and behavioral sciences and community engagement at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Covid-19 Prevention Network. Among those safeguards: FDA and CDC advisory panels, and mandatory trial pauses for vaccines that appear to have adverse effects. (Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson were forced to halt their trials in September after subjects reported adverse effects.)