"We need to put to rest any concept that this was rushed in any inappropriate way. This is really solid,” Fauci said of the coronavirus vaccine candidates, two of which have reached nearly 95% effectiveness in Phase 3 clinical trials. Pfizer plans to apply for Emergency Use Authorization for its candidate “within days,” according to the company.
Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said he’d heard “some reticence” about the safety and efficacy of the forthcoming vaccine given the speediness of its development.
“The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety nor did it compromise scientific integrity,” Fauci said. “It was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of vaccines which allowed us to do things in months that actually took years before so I really want to settle that concern that people have about that.”
The well-known infectious disease expert also noted that, “An independent body of people who have no allegiance to anyone-- not the administration, not to me, not to the companies, looked at the data and deemed it to be sound.”
Fauci also said people in high priority groups could expect to begin getting vaccinated by the end of December.
Meanwhile, General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, laid out a vaccine distribution plan, saying vaccines would be shipped within 24 hours of Emergency Use Authorization and people would be getting vaccinated within another 24 hours.
Perna said that the Pfizer vaccine would immediately be transported to UPS and Fedex facilities for distribution and dry ice kits would be delivered to sites of vaccine administration. He said his team had already prepared 100 million ancillary kits containing needles, alcohol swabs, etc. and were preparing to distribute them at the same time.
A number of Democrats have balked at the prospect of any coronavirus vaccine released under President Trump and Operation Warp Speed.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also spoke out against the Trump administration regarding trust for a vaccine. On Sept. 24, he said in a statement that he would have state officials review the safety of any vaccine the president supports.
"The federal government's response to COVID and the White House's dispute with the FDA raises serious questions about whether or not the vaccine has become politicized," Cuomo said. "Frankly, I'm not going to trust the federal government's opinion and I wouldn't recommend to New Yorkers based on the federal government's opinion.”
After Pfizer’s announcement, Cuomo cast doubt that The Trump administration could lay out an adequate distribution plan.
"[T]he Trump administration is rolling out the vaccination plan and I believe it's flawed," Cuomo said. "I believe it learns nothing from the past. They're basically going to have the private providers do it, and that's going to leave out all sorts of communities that were left out the first time when COVID ravaged them."