Andrew Cuomo says New York will undertake its own vaccine review process, and wouldn’t recommend trusting the federal government
The concerns keep mounting over President Donald Trump’s politicization of the FDA and other federal agencies guiding the development of a safe and effective vaccine. And today, the telegenic New York governor Andrew Cuomo appeared to introduce even more politics into the matter — latest in an ongoing series of incidents that have cast the proudly independent FDA in starkly political terms.
During his daily press conference Cuomo said that the state will review any coronavirus vaccines approved by the federal government, citing a lack of trust in the Trump administration. The announcement comes one day after Trump accused the FDA of making an “extremely political” move in proposing stricter vaccine guidance.
“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said.
States aren’t typically involved in the vaccine approval process, but they could delay the distribution of a potentially authorized vaccine, according to a New York Times report.
Cuomo’s plan to oversee what’s been federal government oversight includes creating a “Clinical Advisory Task Force” comprising scientists, doctors and health experts. The task force will report to Cuomo to determine whether or not an authorized vaccine is safe and effective.
“New York State will have its own review when the federal government is finished with their review and says it’s safe,” Cuomo said. “We’re going to put together a group for them to review the vaccine, so I can look at the camera and I can say to New Yorkers that it’s safe to take.”
The governor also highlighted the distribution challenges facing the state when a vaccine should be approved, given that nearly 20 million people live in New York and some leading vaccine candidates require two doses.
Cuomo said the panel would look at the most effective ways to implement a distribution network and work on prioritizing who should get the vaccine first.
President Trump has repeatedly made optimistic forecasts of vaccine availability coming before November 3 despite only one company — Pfizer — saying publicly that they’d know before then whether or not their vaccine works. CEO Albert Bourla has said Pfizer could be able to tell in October.
Though Cuomo appeared to insert politics into the vaccine approval discussion, potentially further sowing doubts about the FDA’s ability to roll out a safe vaccine, he expressed confidence in Commissioner Stephen Hahn during his presser and instead cast blame on the president.
“I don’t think Dr. Hahn is running for anything,” Cuomo sarcastically asked one of the health officials at the briefing.
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