For a frightened, frustrated America in desperate need of a return to normalcy, a vaccine for COVID-19 can't arrive fast enough.
However, federal agencies involved in making one available must safeguard against cutting too many corners in order to get something on the market as quickly as possible.
We broach this subject today because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently directed public health officials in all 50 states to plan for distribution of a coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups of Americans as early as late October or early November, media outlets reported earlier this week. The timeline raised concern among some public health leaders about a rush for vaccine approval driven by political considerations ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
We don't know to what extent, if any, politics is involved in the CDC directive, but we join with those health care leaders who urge the proper degree of research and evaluation for any coronavirus vaccine in development.
Science, not politics, should dictate vaccine decisions. Premature approval and distribution of a vaccine will produce the potential for doing more harm than good.
Under global pressure and with astonishing speed, extraordinary work continues by private and public researchers to create a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19. Emerging signs provide reason to be optimistic access to medicine for prevention of this virus isn't far away.
If reasonable opportunities exist for federal agencies to expedite the process, they should pursue them. Overall, though, the proper strategy to get this right should be due diligence and, difficult as it is for all of us, patience.
Our Opinion editorials represent the consensus view of The Sioux City Journal editorial board. Members of the board include: Bruce Miller, editor; Michael Gors, editorial page editor; Dave Dreeszen; managing editor; Tim Hynds, chief photographer.
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