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Major vaccine manufacturers sign COVID-19 safety pledge

Published on 09/09/20 at 12:11pm
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller

Nine vaccine manufactures have signed a pledge to uphold ethical standards while producing their treatments for COVID-19. 

The companies involved include AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, BioNTech, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and MSD. 

The pledge agreed by the CEO of each company reads: “We, the undersigned biopharmaceutical companies, want to make clear our on-going commitment to developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles.”

The pledge ends with the statement: “We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved.”

Alberta Bourla, the Pfizer CEO, commented on the pledge and told the Today show: “With increasing public concerns about the processes that we are using to develop these vaccines and even more importantly the processes that will be used to evaluate the vaccines, we thought it was critical to come out and reiterate our commitment.”

This pledge is partly in response to polling that shows that as little as two out of every five Americans would get vaccinated against coronavirus. There is also increasing speculation that political factors, especially in America, may contribute to when a vaccine is approved and goes into mass production. 

President Trump has suggested that a vaccine could be ready before election day. The New York Times reported last week that the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put out guidance to US states to prepare to distribute a vaccine to health workers and high-risks groups in the coming weeks, while CDC Director Robert Redfield has asked governors to fast-track licenses and permits to make vaccine sites operational by 1 November, two days before the 2020 election.

If a vaccine did come out before the election it is highly unlikely that it would have completed Phase 3 trials. Dr Moncef Slaoui, one of the heads of Operation Warp Speed, believes it is very unlikely the US will have a vaccine before the election. 

The US government itself is funding multiple vaccine trials by a number of the companies involved in the pledge.

Conor Kavanagh

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