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New York state plans to reexamine vaccines approved by Trump administration

New York state plans to create a review committee under the direction of its Department of Health to vet any coronavirus vaccine approved by President Donald Trump's administration - ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / ©AFP
New York state plans to create a review committee under the direction of its Department of Health to vet any coronavirus vaccine approved by President Donald Trump's administration - ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / ©AFP

(AFP)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday his state will conduct its own verification of any federally approved vaccination, citing concerns that the vetting process is overly politicized.

“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion,” the Democratic state leader told journalists.

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Cuomo said New York state would create a review committee under the direction of its Department of Health, a move likely to further exacerbate concerns and uneasiness among US residents about the federal approval process for a potential vaccine.

The governor voiced alarm that Trump said earlier this week that the White House “may or may not” authorize Food and Drug Administration rules tightening standards for vaccine approval.

“That sounds like a political move,” Trump said of the FDA plans, which he said could unnecessarily delay the release of a vaccine he has vowed would be available by the November 3 vote.

Health experts including the nation’s top infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, have estimated a vaccine could be proven safe by the final months of 2020 — calling Trump’s claims that it could be ready before the election into question.

In any case many Americans remain skeptical of the process: A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed that more than half of US residents said they would not get the vaccine even if it were available for free prior to the presidential election.

That lack of trust could ultimately hamper efforts to halt Covid-19’s spread, many experts say

Cuomo also joined Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in calling for a congressional oversight probe into the Trump administration’s “politicization” of the pandemic response.

“It’s increasingly clear that the President and his advisers are trying to undermine the credibility of experts whose facts run counter to the administration’s political agenda,” the Democratic leaders wrote.

“We cannot allow this this type of politically motivated decision making to take root.”

More than 200,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States, with the infection continuing to spread rapidly in many parts of the country mere weeks before the presidential election.

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