Drug makers release safety pledge to 'ensure public confidence' in COVID-19 vaccine process

A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen's University research lab in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 23, 2020.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Companies behind a number of COVID-19 vaccine candidates have released a joint pledge in an effort to "ensure public confidence" in the process.

Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Novavax were among the nine drug companies working on potential COVID-19 vaccines whose CEOs signed a joint pledge released on Tuesday, saying that they won't submit for approval until "after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities such as FDA," also promising to "always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority," per The Washington Post.

This pledge came amid concerns over cut corners in the vaccine approval process, especially so that a potential candidate could be ready before the presidential election. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate, told CNN that should a COVID-19 vaccine be approved and distributed prior to the November election, "I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information" deeming it safe and effective.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently told states to prepare to potentially begin distributing a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as November, leading to "heightened concerns that the Trump administration is seeking to rush the distribution of a vaccine," The New York Times wrote. The White House said "any approval will maintain the FDA's gold standard for safety and testing."

The drug companies say they're looking to "help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved." Previously, The Wall Street Journal reported that this "unusual joint move" would be made, and the Post described the statement as an "extraordinary effort to bolster public faith in a vaccine."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.