NIH Chief Says No Way to Know When Safe Vaccine Will Be Ready

NIH Chief Says No Way to Know When Safe Vaccine Will Be Ready

  • Collins hopes people will listen to scientists not politicians
  •  AstraZeneca pause cited as showing safety key to approval

Contradicting President Donald Trump, the head of the National Institutes of Health said there’s no way to tell if a safe vaccine will be available before the Nov. 3 election. But he remains hopeful that we can have one by year’s end.

“Will it be done by a certain date?” NIH Director Francis Collins said during a congressional hearing Wednesday. “I could not possibly tell you right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Collins and Surgeon General Jerome Adams appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions to discuss the importance of vaccines generally, but the focus naturally was on a Covid-19 vaccine with the health leaders attempting to reassure senators the process for reaching a vaccine would be focused on science not politics.

The hearing comes as the chase for a vaccine has been drawn into the political debate, with Trump saying he expects to see a vaccine approved prior to the Nov. 3 presidential election and Democrats citing concern the president will pressure health officials to make that happen. That tension became clear at times during the hearing.