Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that New York state will conduct its own review of any vaccines for the coronavirus that are approved by the federal government, citing concerns that the Trump administration has overly politicized and threatened the integrity of the vaccine approval process.
“Frankly, I am not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion,” Cuomo (D) said at a news briefing, the New York Times reported.
A panel of scientists, health officials and experts led by the state Department of Health would review the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine after it is approved by the federal government, Cuomo said, “so that I can look at the camera and I can say to New Yorkers that it’s safe to take.”
State officials will not play a role in the approval process for the vaccine but would help decide its distribution throughout the state, where more than 32,000 people have succumbed to covid-19, and delay the process if they found the vaccine was not safe, the governor added.
Cuomo said his concerns grew after President Trump warned Wednesday that the White House might reject a plan by the Food and Drug Administration to issue new, tougher standards for emergency approval of the vaccine, dismissing them as “a political move.”
Trump suggested companies, not federal regulators, should decide when the vaccine should be made available for the public, adding that he saw no reason it should be delayed further. The president has repeatedly said that the vaccine would be available before Election Day. But top health officials have contradicted those claims and said it won’t be available to most Americans until late spring or summer 2021.
Cuomo’s announcement came after he and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) called for a congressional investigation of the Trump administration’s “politization of the pandemic response,” the Times reported.