As the Trump administration continues to ignore and deny the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic in this country — reportedly embracing a disguised version of the discredited “herd immunity” strategy that would likely result in hundreds of thousands of additional American deaths — the president’s overly optimistic promises of the rapid development of some newly concocted vaccine are facing pushback.
The doubts are coming not from fringe anti-vaxxers but from those who fear that in a rush to announce a “cure” for the deadly virus, Trump will order compliant political appointees at federal agencies he controls, like the FDA and CDC, to bypass the carefully controlled testing for efficacy and safety that are typically required before any vaccine is approved for mass distribution.
The fear of politically motivated shortcuts is also amplified by doubts over the logistical issues involved in manufacturing and administering a sufficient quantity of any rushed vaccine to millions of Americans, even if priority is given to health care workers and others in jobs considered essential to the smooth functioning of society.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) personified those doubts about any Trump-touted vaccine in an interview with Dana Bash on CNN‘s State of the Union — an interview that is scheduled to air in full on Sunday morning, but excerpts of which were released in advance today.
During a discussion of the Trump administration’s massive failures in confronting the virus, Senator Harris was asked if she was confident that public health experts would have the last word in assuring the public that any vaccine rapidly developed to time perfectly with the president’s re-lection campaign would be safe and effective.
Her answer was that she was certain that any medical experts who oppose Trump’s apparent desires to bypass sound scientific practices to prematurely approve a vaccine would “be muzzled,” “suppressed,” and “side-lined” due to Trump’s focus on the election taking place in less than 60 days as he grasps “to pretend to be a leader on this issue when he’s not”
Bash cut the core of the matter by asking the Democratic vice presidential nominee whether she herself would take any vaccine rushed into approval before election day by Donald Trump.
Harris wasted no time in replying.
“Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump,” the Senator declared, before adding “I will not take his word for it.”
Given Donald Trump’s record of thousands of deliberate lies, it’s uncertain that anything other than the misapplication of blind, ignorant faith could convince many people to trust his possible skirting of sound scientific practices in the rush to find a panacea to his political dilemma.
You can watch an excerpt from Senator Kamala Harris’s interview with Dana Bash on CNN‘s State of the Union in the video attached to the tweet below.
BASH: "Let’s just say there’s a vaccine that is approved and even distributed before the election. Would you get it?"
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 5, 2020
Original reporting by Tal Axelrod at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.