Microsoft founder Bill Gates questioned whether a coronavirus vaccine approved by theFood and Drug Administration (FDA) could be trusted as safe and effective, telling Bloomberg TV the agency has been politicized under the Trump administration.
Gates specifically cited FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn touting blood plasma as a potential treatment, only to reverse himself a day later.
“We saw with the completely bungled plasma statements that when you start pressuring people to say optimistic things, they go completely off the rails. The FDA lost a lot of credibility there,” Gates told the outlet.
“Historically, just like the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC was viewed as the best in the world, the FDA had that same reputation as a top-notch regulator,” he added. “But there’s been some cracks with some of the things they’ve said at the commissioner level.”
Amid concerns over a potentially rushed vaccine, nine pharmaceutical companies signed a joint pledge not to submit any vaccine without confidence in its safety and efficacy earlier this month.
“These companies are very professional and the benefits of the vaccine here are very dramatic,” Gates told Bloomberg TV. “Thank goodness that we have this private-sector expertise that we want to shape into a global public good that gets to everybody on the planet.”
President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats, advocates seethe over Florida voting rights ruling Russian jets identified in Trump campaign ad calling for support for the troops Democratic Senate candidate ‘hesitant’ to get COVID-19 vaccine if approved this year MORE has repeatedly suggested a vaccine will be available before Election Day, contradicting most health experts who have said it is more likely to be ready next year. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisPence seeks to boost Daines in critical Montana Senate race Ivana Trump: Ivanka could ‘definitely’ be first female president In her three elections, Kamala Harris has learned to adapt — and win MORE (D-Calif.), Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats, advocates seethe over Florida voting rights ruling Trump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line There’s no debate: America needs an equitable and resilient government MORE’s running mate, has suggested she would not trust the safety and efficacy of a vaccine on Trump’s word alone.
“It would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,” Harris told CNN earlier this month.
Biden, meanwhile, said last week that he “would want to see what the scientists said” but would take a vaccine “tomorrow” if it was available.
“We need a vaccine and we need it now,” Biden said in Lancaster, Pa. “We have to listen to the scientists.”