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Dr. Fauci Warns Against Early Approval of Vaccine

 “It’s absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both.”
Doctor filling syringe with medication, closeup. Vaccination and immunization

During a week in which the FDA approved convalescent plasma as a therapeutic for coronavirus patients, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warned against rushing a coronavirus vaccine. "The one thing that you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting an EUA"—that's an emergency use authorization, which means the treatment is greenlit without full approval from health authorities—"before you have a signal of efficacy," Fauci told Reuters. "One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enroll people in their trial." 

"To me, it's absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both," Fauci continued. "We would hope that nothing interferes with the full demonstration that a vaccine is safe and effective." (To keep yourself and others safe during this pandemic, don't miss this essential list of the Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.)

More Studies Needed for Treatments

His warning comes at a time when some scientists are worried the vaccine will be rushed into production before election day in November.

"The Food and Drug Administration's decision to give emergency authorization for convalescent plasma as a treatment for novel coronavirus patients — touted as a historic breakthrough by President Trump on Sunday — is raising doubts among some experts who say certain claims of its effectiveness are dubious or wrong," reported the Washington Post. "Trump called plasma a 'historic breakthrough,' which scientists insist it is not. And he and Azar"—the Human Services Secretary—"repeatedly highlighted the 35 percent reduction in mortality"—an incorrect figure. "Even FDA scientists said more studies need to be conducted to get definitive evidence about plasma's efficacy."

Fauci Calls Himself 'Skunk at the Picnic'

Fauci, for his part, spoke only about the vaccine. In a separate interview, however, he addressed his role on the Coronavirus Task Force, which advises the White House, as well as his relationship with Vice President Mike Pence.

"I am sometimes referred to as 'the skunk at the picnic' but Pence never directly asks me, the skunk, to be quiet or leave," Fauci emailed the Washington Post, and said that Pence was "a truly decent person, and very smart, who is trying to do his best in a very difficult and fluid situation."

"Some may say that Pence and his team are 'too ideological' but they are after all political people. This is not unexpected."

As for yourself, do as Fauci does: Wear your face mask, and avoid crowds, social distance, only run essential errands, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.