As COVID numbers begin to spike again in quite a few states and with the dreaded flu season upon us, many Americans are nervous about where the coronavirus is headed. But the nation's leading immunologist Anthony Fauci, MD, has one chief worry right now when it comes to COVID. During an interview with Vox, Fauci expressed that he is "very concerned" that people will not trust or get a COVID vaccine produced in the U.S. Read on for more, and to learn how to stay safe, avoid these Things You're Doing Every Day That Put You at COVID Risk,
During the interview, reporter Sean Rameswaram asked Fauci: "How worried are you about faith in the vaccine? Are you concerned that people might not trust a vaccine produced in this country?"
"I am very concerned about that," said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "And that's the reason why I'm right here talking with you. I'm trying to make sure that we can reach out to the community and explain the process."
It seems that Fauci's concerns are valid. A survey published by Pew Research Center on Sept. 17 found that a substantial portion of Americans seem skeptical of the COVID vaccine: Only 21 percent of American adults said they would definitely get the vaccine, which is down from 42 percent in May. The number of people who claimed they would not get the vaccine shot up from 11 percent in May to 24 percent in September.
In an effort to clarify the process and abate fear, Fauci explained some of the key elements of getting a vaccine developed and approved.
"People need to understand that an independent body, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board [DSMB], is beholden to no one, not to the president, not to the vaccine companies, not to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]. Not to me," he told Vox. Fauci emphasized that the only people with access to the data on the vaccine trials right now are the established scientists, ethicists, and statisticians of the DSMB since it's a double-blind study.
The COVID vaccine, like any other vaccine, has a predetermined set of criteria that determines whether it works or not, Fauci added. He explained that when the DSMB is confident the vaccine is safe and effective, they will notify the manufacturing company. The company will then present the vaccine to the FDA, who has to consult the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. Finally, the data will become public so that scientists, like Fauci, will have access and be able to review the trials' findings.
"Everybody is worrying that someone is going to make an end run around that and try to get a vaccine out for political reasons. Well, that will not happen, but if it does… it will be really transparent. Because the scientists will see the data. The FDA has pledged publicly multiple times that they will not approve a vaccine unless they've established that nonpolitical scientists agree that it's safe and effective," says Fauci.
Additionally, he personally promised, "If it turns out somebody tries to force [the vaccine] out, I tell you, I will be one of the first ones that will object to that." And for the symptoms you could be battling for months to come, here are the Longest Lasting COVID Symptoms You Need to Know About.