CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina health officials say announcements about COVID-19 vaccines are encouraging news but the widespread distribution is still a long way off.
In a teleconference Wednesday, Assistant State Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Kelly pumped the breaks on the idea a vaccine distribution is imminent.
“There are hundreds of pages of documents to review from preclinical studies, animal studies, through phase one, two, and three human studies, and a lot of efficacy and safety data to be reviewed,” Kelly said. “That process, FDA estimates, will take at least two weeks and if there are any questions, of course, those questions will need to be addressed and that may delay it further. So, when we say they’re applying for a EUA (emergency use authorization) in the next few days that certainly does not mean the vaccine will be available in the next few days it will be at least several weeks.”
Kelly also addressed concerns about the overall safety of the vaccine and dismissed the idea that any vaccines have been rushed through the process.
“No steps have been skipped in this vaccine development,” Kelly said. “The longest steps in vaccine development are the research, pre-clinical trial, and revving up for manufacturing. This work has been ongoing since 2003. With the advent of SARS. So there has been more than a decade’s worth of preclinical research.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell says they continue to work in close communication with federal partners to make sure the infrastructure is in place in South Carolina and the distribution process is ready when the first vaccine does receive emergency approval from the FDA.