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Fact or Fiction: COVID-19 vaccine- speedy but safe?

Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:00 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The CDC says multiple COVID-19 vaccines are under development. As of this month, four large-scale clinical trials are under way.

But some people are worried the government is trading safety for speed.

The mumps vaccine is currently considered the fastest one ever developed. Released in 1967, it took four years from research to public release.

So if even one of the COVID-19 vaccines in development was released next year, the timing would be unprecedented.

“Many of these vaccines are now in phase 3 clinical trials which is the final phase where we need to watch and see how the people in the study are doing with the vaccine and if it’s actually working and helping them,” Roper St. Francis Healthcare Dr. Melissa Ellis-Yarian said."And once we complete that - which takes months; that’s not a quick process - then the FDA approves it for release to the public."

Depending on how many doses are available, it’s possible front-line workers and vulnerable people would get the vaccine first.

The CDC reports having 12 safety monitoring systems in place to keep tabs on any vaccine that’s released, plus three expanded safety systems for monitoring COVID-19 vaccines.

Ellis-Yarian understands why some might be worried about an accelerated process, but she says safety standards are not being lowered.

“What has been accelerated is providing funding, resources, cutting through some of the administrative processes that normally draw out a developmental process for a vaccine. Because this is an emergency situation and we are in a global pandemic, they are moving on all fronts in that regard.”

As a mother and physician, Ellis said she’s thankful for vaccines against infections like smallpox and polio.

“What’s going to be important to us as Americans is that when there is a vaccine available – a safe FDA approved vaccine – that we take it. Because a vaccine is what’s going to help us conquer COVID-19 and stop the spread of COVID-19 and return to normal life,” she said.

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