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FDA Could Slow Coronavirus Vaccine Progress with New, Additional Hurdles

The President’s hope of having a vaccine by election day just went down the drain.

For months on end, Americans have been waiting for some good news on the coronavirus front, whether that news comes in the form of a vaccine, a treatment, or even the controversial “herd immunity”.  For the time being, still, we have only social distancing and masks to protect us from the highly contagious virus.

There have been some sporadic breakthroughs in terms of battling coronavirus, but not all have been built on rock solid reputations.  For instance, a purported vaccine being used by the Russian government and touted by Vladimir Putin himself has been largely criticized as “fake news” by the medical industry.

In the US, President Donald Trump has promised to move as expeditiously as possible when it comes to finding a vaccine for COVID-19, but that may be easier said than done. 

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The Food and Drug Administration is expected to spell out a tough, new standard for an emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine as soon as this week that will make it exceedingly difficult for any vaccine to be cleared before Election Day.

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The agency is issuing the guidance to boost transparency and public trust as it approaches the momentous decision of whether a prospective vaccine is safe and effective. Public health experts are increasingly worried that President Donald Trump’s repeated predictions of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 3, coupled with the administration’s interference in federal science agencies, may prompt Americans to reject any vaccine as rushed and potentially tainted.

The stakes are high: polls show the relentless politicization of the race to develop a vaccine is taking its toll. Pew Research Center recently reported that the percentage of people who said they would get the vaccine if it were available today has dropped to just over 50% from 72% in May.

President Trump’s hopes of getting a vaccine cleared by election day may be thwarted, but there’s no telling what kind of effect this news will have on the contest itself.

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