ALBANIA – Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday urged governors, concerned about the effectiveness of a federally approved COVID-19 vaccine, to trust the process.
In particular, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has received national attention for questioning a vaccination program developed by the Trump administration and promising to have it reviewed by a panel of experts before a vaccine is distributed across the state.
California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada have also teamed up to conduct their own review of all Federal Drug Administration-approved vaccines.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post he disagreed but understood the states’ review.
“I can understand, although I disagree, because unfortunately what I think you heard was what I referred to earlier as mixed messages from Washington,” he said.
“So I’m not blaming you for wondering what’s going on, but I can tell you if you’re listening and I hope it is you, that the process is really a solid process.”
Fauci said he just hoped a state’s review doesn’t hinder the immediate distribution of a vaccine once it’s available.
“I understand why you might want to do it because of the mixed messages, but hopefully I can ask you to say, yes, you can look at the data, but everyone should look at the data. There’s nothing wrong with that. But trust the process, because it’s a solid process, “said Fauci.
He added that when states do their own review, they hope “they do it in a quick manner that does not delay anything”.
New York’s plans for its own review sparked the ire of President Donald Trump, who on Nov. 14 threatened to withhold a vaccine from his home state over Cuomo’s stance.
“The vaccine will be available to the entire population except for places like New York State, where the governor decided to say so for political reasons and I think that politically it is not good, I think that he is is very bad from a health point of view. ” , but he wants to take time for the vaccine, “said Trump.
More:Trump: COVID-19 vaccine will not ship to NY until Cuomo approves immediate distribution
More:In Dr. Fauci’s words: Why Americans shouldn’t fear an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine
Cuomo has countered that he simply doesn’t trust the Trump administration to distribute a vaccine fairly and equitably before President-elect Joe Biden prepares for office in January.
Cuomo has appointed its own panel to review all FDA-cleared vaccines, including those developed by New York-based companies Pfizer and Regenereon.
“They’ll review the FDA’s approval to make sure it’s safe, and then I can tell New Yorkers, it’s safe, you don’t have to trust Trump because we don’t,” Cuomo told Hot on Nov. 17 97, a New York City-based radio station.
Cuomo said he wanted to make sure the vaccine also reaches minority communities disproportionately affected by the virus, which has killed more than 26,000 New Yorkers – most from every state in the nation.
Cuomo estimated it could take months on Monday for the vaccine to be fully distributed across the country.
“I’ll bet anyone who wants to bet: it will take at least six months for you to reach critical mass,” he told reporters. “The vaccine won’t be here in time to stop a rising infection rate.”
Other states, including New Jersey, have their own reviews underway to make sure the vaccine is being distributed fairly.
New Yorkers are excited about the vaccine, a poll at Siena College on Tuesday found that 69% said they would definitely or likely take it when it becomes available.
“A large majority of New Yorkers of all kinds – regardless of party, region, race, age, religion, gender, or even who supported them in the presidential election – say they definitely, or at least likely, have a COVID-19 vaccine if so approved by the FDA, ”Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for the survey in Siena, said in a statement.
More:How to get a COVID test in NY amid the pre-Thanksgiving crush
More:COVID Vaccine: NJ plans to start vaccinating health care workers in mid-December
Joseph Spector is the government and policy editor for the Atlantic Group of the USA TODAY Network, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or he can be followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
Support local journalism
We cover the stories from the New York State Capitol and all of New York that matter most to you and your family. Please support our efforts by subscribing to the New York publication near you.