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Concerns raised over race to COVID-19 vaccine

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TUCSON (KVOA) -During this pandemic, many companies are in a race to put out a COVID-19 vaccine.

As a result, many health professionals are concerned vaccine trials could
be cut short for political reasons, rushing a vaccine without knowing the full risks of the drug.

This week, nine major companies made a pledge to finish three phases of trials before releasing a vaccine. Even with the pledge, questions still remain since the pledge falls short of full FDA approval.

"They left the door open to what's called Emergency Use Authorization," Will Humble, Arizona Public Health Association Director said, "That's a shortcut. That's available right now because this pandemic is classified as a public health emergency."

Humble says in his opinion, vaccines should not only go through the full three phases of trial, but also go on to regular FDA approval.

"No. 1, it could cause bad health outcomes among people that get the vaccine, but could also erode confidence in vaccines, generally," Humble said. "And we need good vaccines in order to get past this pandemic."

Right now, several COVID-19 vaccines are in its third trial phase. One of those trials is being tested by volunteers in Arizona.

"I myself volunteered for the Moderna's trial through the National Institutes of Health," Humble said. "Arizona was selected as one of the test sites because back in June and July, we had such a high prevalence of COVID-19 in Arizona."

So what should the public know when the new COVID-19 vaccine does make it to pharmacies?

"Vaccine manufacturers have committed firmly to going all the way through their phase three trials," Humble said. "Which should give the folks of Arizona and across the country confidence that the manufacturers are behaving responsibly."

For Humble's recent blog post on the subject, click here.

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Denelle Confair

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