‘I would resign’: Lead scientist dismisses concerns of a rushed vaccine for political purposes

As President Donald Trump continues to paint an optimist forecast about the development of a coronavirus vaccine, some of his critics have expressed concern that the process might be rushed in order to help his re-election chances.

As The Hill reported, however, the lead scientist behind the administration’s Operation Warp Speed asserted that he would “resign instantly” if he felt pressure to accelerate his research for partisan purposes.

“300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine”

According to the U.S. Department of Health, the goal of this task force is “to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).”

Trump recently opined that the vaccine could be developed ahead of that timeline, adding that he is “optimistic” that it could be available by Election Day.

While he acknowledged such a development “wouldn’t hurt” in his race against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, lead scientist Moncef Slaoui responded to the claim that Trump is attempting to politicize the vaccine’s development.

“The data will dictate, the facts will dictate,” he said in a recent podcast appearance. “We may have the endpoint in October. We may have it on November 4. Who knows? We may have it on December 15.”

Slaoui made it clear that there were no motivations aside from scientific fact in what he had been tasked with overseeing.

“Established legal and regulatory standards”

“That’s the answer,” he said. “And to be honest, on a personal basis, I would resign instantly if I was forced to do something that I thought would be inappropriate.”

Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration issued its own statement on the matter.

“The physician leadership of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (including the authors of this Viewpoint) unequivocally state that candidate COVID-19 vaccines will be reviewed according to the established legal and regulatory standards for medical products,” the agency wrote.

Through Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration has entered into agreements with a range of leading research companies. As such, Slaoui said in his recent remarks that he hopes to have enough effective doses to vaccinate “30 to 40 million” of the “most susceptible people in the U.S. across maybe December, January, February.”

Americans of all political stripes are hoping that he is right.

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