Kamala Harris says she won’t take Trump’s word on vaccine efficacy

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris told CNN that she wouldn’t take President Donald Trump’s word alone on the efficacy of a coronavirus vaccine.

“I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,” Harris said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I will not take his word for it.”

Trump has accused employees at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of attempting to sabotage his re-election by slowing down coronavirus research. Concern about pressure from the White House to speed up the vaccine’s development and approval pushed drugmakers to plan a public pledge to not send any Covid-19 vaccine to the FDA for review without extensive safety and efficacy data.

Still, health officials inside the Trump administration have said the process will be based entirely on science, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, a Trump appointee, has said he wouldn’t participate if he thought a vaccine were being rubber-stamped.

Harris, running on Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s ticket, voiced concern that public health experts and scientists may be ignored by the current administration.

“If past is prologue they will not, they’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined,” she said. “Because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days, and he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend that he has been a leader on this issue when he’s not.”

She added that she would “trust the word of public health officials and scientists,” including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has clashed with Trump at times over the U.S. coronavirus response.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, called Harris’s comment “her most irresponsible statement of all” in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Source: Sydney Maki, Bloomberg