House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said that she’s “not a big needle taker,” but would consider taking a COVID-19 vaccine to set an example.
Pelosi weighed in after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris expressed doubts about the reliability of a potential vaccine.
“I’m not a big needle taker. I mean, I had a hard time getting my ears pierced. I’m not a big needle fan,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters at a press conference.
“I mean, they have to talk me into the flu shot under great duress each year — but if it serves as a model to other people, yes I would take the vaccine if it is approved by the regular order of things.”
Pelosi alleged that the White House doesn’t want to complete Phase 3 trials that prove the safety and efficacy of a vaccine, but said US health officials and drug companies are keeping the process honest.
“I don’t like the pressure that the White House is bringing on all of this and the statements that maybe we don’t need clinical trials as we normally do, we can just do it two instead of three and all that,” she said.
There are four Phase 3 clinical trials underway for a prospective vaccine. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said two weeks ago that he expects the company to know by the end of October if its candidate works.
Pelosi said she’s “so pleased that the pharmaceutical companies have said they will not market or promote a vaccine that does not go through the clinical trials that are required,” adding, “let me salute the scientists at the FDA, and even some of the people at the CDC… who have been there for a long time about the highest caliber of science now backing the FDA working on this initiative.”
“Let science determine this, not politics and then people will have confidence in the product,” she said.
President Trump promoted the possibility of a vaccine breakthrough before the Nov. 3 election, with enough doses for every American by April. He and other Republicans attacked Biden and Harris for suggesting the FDA would approve an unsafe and unreliable vaccine.
“I’m calling on Biden to stop promoting his anti-vaccine theories because all they’re doing is hurting the importance of what we’re doing,” Trump said at a press briefing last month. “They’re recklessly endangering lives.”
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci last week testified to Congress that the public should trust the COVID-19 vaccine approval process.
Biden said in a recent speech that “I trust vaccines” but not necessarily if one is approved by US health regulators under Trump. He called for independent scientific oversight of any vaccine approved by a US drugmaker in partnership with federal health authorities.
“If a vaccine is ready to go, it should be totally transparent, the basis upon which that decision was made,” Biden said.
Harris (D-Calif.) said in an interview last month that “I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about.”