Is Nov. 1st Too Early for a Vaccine?

Priscilla Bermudez, Senior Copy Editor

On Thursday, Sept. 6, news came out that a vaccine for COVID-19 could be released prior to Nov. 3, and U.S. governors have been told to prepare for the possible distribution of the vaccines by Nov.1. A concerning aspect of this possible distribution date is its close proximity with Election Day. This raises an important question: does its fast approaching release have to do with COVID-19 turning into a politicized issue? 

Though talk has spread of the distribution of a vaccine before election day, the Food and Drug Administration has said that it can give no guarantee that it will be released by that time frame. Regardless, the U.S. has started producing unapproved vaccines so they would be ready once they receive approval. The first to receive the vaccine would include frontline workers and those most at risk. This puts more pressure for the vaccine to have successful results, and rushing the release of the vaccine may put the lives of these workers and citizens at risk if the vaccine proves to have risky side effects  not originally anticipated.

Another issue that needs mentioning is the lack of minorities included in these trials. These trials need inclusion of minorities because the vaccine may have different effects on them than the white population, and COVID-19 has already heavily impacted minority groups. Phase 3 aims to include more minorities, but the lesser amount of minorities included in the previous trials increase pressure on Phase 3. The vaccine needs to be proven safe for everyone before its release to the general public. 

To ease the concern of the politicization of the vaccine, nine pharmaceutical companies have pledged to forego seeking government approval until they completely know the safety of their vaccines. This means that the vaccine might not come out in record time as President Donald Trump states it will. Without reassurance of the safety and reliability of a vaccine, people will continue to contract the virus and spread it. 

Politics should not have a place in a topic that involves the health and safety of so many Americans. The release of this product should occur only after trials are fully complete and a vaccine is deemed safe for all Americans, not because of the upcoming elections. Science cannot be rushed just to fit into political agendas.