As an octogenarian, I’m alert to anything moving us closer to “Herd Immunity.” At my age, with a wife recovering from lung cancer, life is basically a form of house arrest. It will remain that way until we arrive at “Herd Immunity.” We get there by enough people becoming immune to impede the virus. Natural spread, a vaccine, or a combination of the two are the ways we get there. Given the history of vaccine development, a successful one at first looked a very long way off. Due to herculean efforts by all hands, miraculously, we might have one in a month or two. A get out of jail card may be in the offing.
However, even when the clinical trials are over, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently decreed a further two-month observation period before release. This will probably push a vaccine well into the new year. The need for this is hotly contested in the scientific community. Unfortunately, it got injected into election-year politics. Having pulled out all stops with his “Operation Warp speed,” President Trump was looking forward to the early vaccine O.K. Democrats claimed he was pushing through a possibly unsafe vaccine to help in his re-election. If half the country refused to get vaccinated, it would be difficult to achieve any early “Herd Immunity.” The fact a delay would cost lives and cause further hardship is the basis of the FDA rules’ criticism. The critics see little risk in moving quicker.
In the midst of all of this, Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a warning a Covid-19 vaccine should not be authorized for use in the U.S. based on data from British trials. Ms. Pelosi told reporters in Washington, “We need to be very careful about what happens in the U.K. We have very stringent rules in terms of the Food and Drug Administration here, about the number of clinical trials, the timing, the number of people and all the rest.”Continue reading