US Vice President Mike Pence has warned Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris against playing politics with COVID-19 issues.
Biden, Harris, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, need to “stop playing politics with people’s lives by undermining confidence in a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine,” Pence told Fox News on Sunday.
“The president has speeded up the process through Operation Warp Speed, but we cut no corners on safety, and we are not going to distribute a coronavirus vaccine until the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] and independent evaluation say it is safe and effective for the American people,” he added.
The FDA approved Thursday Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir, a drug touted by President Donald Trump who received it earlier this month after contracting COVID-19.
On Friday, the FDA also gave the green light to Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to continue their vaccine trials after both companies earlier paused their trials as some participants in trials became ill.
Some Democrats have claimed Trump was acting reckless in coronavirus treatment options, arguing the president has been expediting trials to have a vaccine ready before the election on Nov. 3.
“I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said last month.
The US administration implemented Operation Warp Speed, which offers to pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion for 100 million doses if their vaccine proves “safe and effective”, and a $1.6 billion deal with Novavax to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses by next January.
The US has more than 8.63 million cases and over 225,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, figures show over 43 million infections and more than 1.15 million deaths.
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