Two of the Trump administration’s top medical experts tried to prop up shaky public confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine at a Senate hearing Wednesday amid questions of political interference in this campaign year.
“We have unprecedented levels of vaccine hesitancy in our country and globally,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams, appearing with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I think it’s also important to understand we have a once-in-a-century pandemic superimposed on top of a presidential election, and that’s made messaging even more difficult and concerning.
“Here’s what I can tell you as a member of the coronavirus task force: There’s been no politicization of the vaccine process whatsoever,” Adams continued.
Neither would comment on whether the president’s politicized comments about a vaccine — including promising one by the end of October, despite a lack of clinical trial evidence so far, and accusing “deep state” actors at the Food and Drug Administration of slow-walking the process — could hurt vaccination rates.
Ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., asked if Adams would challenge the president not to interfere in the process or spread misinformation.