New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is forming a state task force to review a coronavirus vaccine before recommending it to the public, saying Thursday he does not trust the federal government to determine when a vaccine is safe and effective.
“New York state will have its own review when the federal government is finished with their review and says it’s safe,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany.
“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend it to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion.”
Cuomo said that the New York health department will consult with hospitals in the state to review any federally-approved vaccine. The Democrat said he wants to be able to “say to New Yorkers that it’s safe to take.”
Cuomo’s remarks appear to be aimed at President Trump, who has said he hopes a coronavirus vaccine will be available before the election in November. Health officials in the Trump administration have cast doubt on Trump’s optimistic timeline. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top expert on the White House coronavirus task force, said this month that a “safe and effective” vaccine could be developed by the end of the year.
Trump’s critics have expressed concern that the Republican will try to push through a vaccine because it will help him politically.
“Let me be clear: I trust vaccines,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said earlier this month. “I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump, and at this moment, the American people can’t either.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, the vice presidential candidate, also expressed concerns over any vaccine approved while Trump is in office, saying that “I do not trust Donald Trump.”
Cuomo announces New York State will have a health committee do its own review of the COVID-19 vaccine after the federal government says it’s ready: “I want to make sure we know it’s safe to take” https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/s8yCEVpDaK
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 24, 2020
Several drug companies are in the final stage of testing their vaccines. Johnson & Johnson began the final phase of its vaccine trial on Wednesday. Pfizer and Moderna are also in the final stages of testing their own vaccines.
According to an Axios-Ipsos poll released Tuesday, 61 percent of Americans will not take a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Forty-three percent of Democrats and 33 percent of Republicans said they would receive the vaccine once its approved, according to the poll.
Nine drug companies signed a pledge earlier this month saying they will prioritize the safety of any vaccines they develop.
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