A coronavirus vaccine is nearing emergency approval, but many say they wouldn’t feel comfortable taking it

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:
Coronavirus vaccine testing (NIAID)

A vaccine is nearing emergency approval but there are a number of people who don’t feel comfortable taking something that went through quick testing.

An August Gallup poll says one in three Americans wouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Migena Gace’s littlest loved ones both have diabetes.

Migena Gace’s children (Provided to WINK News)

“They were diagnosed very early. My daughter at 15 months, and my son at two and a half years,” she said.

That makes them especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t worry,” Gace said.

It’s because of that responsibility to care for them that Gace says she’s not interested in the coronavirus vaccine.

“As a mom, I’m thinking I’m not going to be first in line just because it feels like the vaccine is being rushed and not tested,” she said.

Now, plans to get the vaccine out to the public could happen faster through an emergency authorization.

“There’s some testing going on, but probably not as extensive testing as would normally take place,” explained Robert Hawkes, director of the FGCU physician assistant program.

We’ve seen it before, the rush to get coronavirus nasal swabs and blood tests out and in use, along with new types of ventilators. But it comes with risks, like in the case of hydroxychloroquine.

“As that was rolled out and many, many thousands of people were put on that drug, it became clear – particularly for hospitalized patients – that it had unacceptable side effects,” said Dr. Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

So when it comes to a coronavirus vaccine, some scientists say you can’t cut corners.

“We have to have enough data on safety and we have to have enough data on efficacy. And we should not use an emergency use authorization until we have both of those,” Beyrer said.

That uncertainty has Gace saying no, at least for now.

“If this comes to a point when they say it’s safe, it’s not rushed, we’ve done the research, tweaks, whatever it needs to be – absolutely, we’ll go for it,” she said.

Getting the vaccine out quickly doesn’t mean much if people won’t take it. A 2018 study related to the H1N1 pandemic looked into whether people would take a vaccine that was granted emergency approval. Researchers found fewer than 9% of the people they spoke to said “yes.”

The FDA sent us the following statement in regards to the potential emergency approval:

Once FDA scientists determine that a COVID-19 vaccine candidate meets the appropriate regulatory standards for safety and efficacy, a pathway will be created by the government to make the vaccine available without delay. And, of course, after authorization or approval by the FDA, the safety of any vaccine will be closely monitored.

Since we at the FDA are the final arbiters of whether a particular vaccine is safe and effective, I cannot make any predictions about timing of an emergency use or final approval of a COVID-19 vaccine. But I can attest that every FDA resource has been, and will continue to be, at the ready to facilitate clinical testing programs, and to review clinical data and manufacturing facilities. I can further provide assurances that any vaccine authorized for widespread use will meet the appropriate standards for quality, safety and efficacy.

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