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July 6, 2020

The Development of COVID-19 Vaccines: Safeguards Needed

Author Affiliations
  • 1Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2020;324(5):439-440. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12461

A safe and effective vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the best way to control and ultimately end the pandemic. Vaccine development is moving at unprecedented speed, with more than 200 candidates, billions of dollars committed, and manufacturing often proceeding before even knowing whether a given vaccine candidate will succeed. To date, the US federal government has rapidly advanced 5 vaccine candidates through Operation Warp Speed.1 At the same time, a growing movement of skeptics has raised doubt about future COVID-19 vaccines.2 A poll of 1056 individuals in the US found that only 49% reported that they currently are planning to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; 31% are uncertain, and 20% are not, with safety a major concern.3

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    1 Comment for this article
    Safe Development of a COVID-19 Vaccine
    Michael McAleer, PhD(Econometrics),Queen's | Asia University, Taiwan
    The Viewpoint presented by experts discusses the development of a provably safe, effective, reliable, timely, affordable, acceptable, approved, and accessible vaccine for the SARS-CoC-2 virus through large scale clinical trials for a diverse range of test patients is essential to enable society to converge to some form of normalcy in the COVID-19 world.

    Any announcements of purported vaccine discoveries should be made only when rigorous testing has been approved by the appropriate medical and healthcare authorities.

    Fast tracking approval of vaccines is understandable in uncertain times, but the outcomes of clinical experiments for safe false positives, false negatives, and
    reinfection risk, among others, must be rigorously and robustly checked according to the highest medical and healthcare regulatory standards in order to mitigate the risk of deploying a vaccine without guaranteed safety standards.