New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told George Stephanopoulos in an ABC News interview on Monday morning that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cannot be trusted with a COVID vaccine under a Trump administration.
“If this administration continued, the CDC, George, and, uh the FDA doesn’t have any credibility,” Cuomo said.
Here’s the first bit of the interview posted by ABC News on Twitter:
Stephanopoulos: How confident are you in the approval process of the FDA right now?
Cuomo: Well, first, how confident am I? I’m not that confident, but my opinion doesn’t matter. I don’t believe the American people are that confident. You’re going to say to the American people now, ‘here’s a vaccine, it was new, it was done quickly, but trust this federal administration and their health administration that it’s safe’? Uh, and um, and we’re not 100 percent sure of the consequences? I think it’s going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine and they should be!
Stephanopoulos: So, what’s it going to take to convince you that it’s safe, that it’s effective, that it should be distributed?
Cuomo: Well, what I said I’m going to do in New York is we’re going to put together our own group of doctors and medical experts to review the vaccine and the efficacy and the protocol and if they say it’s safe then I’ll go to the people of New York and I will say it’s safe with that credibility. But I believe all across the country, you’re going to need someone other than this FDA and this CDC saying it’s safe.
Vaccines have been a contentious issue for a number of years, particularly since 1998 when Andrew Wakefield claimed there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Wakefield’s paper was retracted from The Lancet in 2010, and in the same year he was barred from practicing medicine as a doctor in the UK on the charge of serious professional misconduct when the General Medical Council ruled that his methods of research were unethical.
The American public has vastly different views about vaccines, with some contending for their safety and the trustworthiness of health officials, while others emphasize the importance of parental rights in making health decisions for their young children.
These debates have been renewed with the discussion of a COVID-19 vaccine, especially as the public wonders whether receiving the vaccine would be a government mandate. In June, ABC News reported that 27% of adults would not get a COVID vaccine.
Research has been conflicted on whether vaccines are a partisan issue, with many studies revealing that both conservatives and liberals tend toward skepticism of vaccines.
However, that is not the issue that Cuomo’s comments raises. The issue at hand is the pattern of government leaders to hold onto power by constantly changing rules and standards.
At the beginning of nationwide shutdowns in March, the national conversation was focused around “flattening the curve”. Lockdowns were originally intended to prevent overwhelming hospitals with too many sick people. But shutdowns continued well after the curve was flattened, and many states have changed the expectations for re-opening.
For instance, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new re-opening plan in July, which moves counties into different re-opening tiers based on daily positive cases. If case numbers rise too high – regardless of hospitalization or death rates – a county is moved into a more restrictive tier until case numbers are controlled.
In response to Cuomo’s recent comments, Daily Wire contributor Matt Walsh pointed to this concern of changing standards on Twitter:
New York was one of the states hit hardest by COVID-19, with over 33,000 deaths. Governor Cuomo has been heavy-handed in state restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID, recently threatening to shut down synagogues if Orthodox Jewish communities disobeyed his mandates.
Stephanopoulos asked Cuomo if it would take a Biden victory (a White House administration change) to re-instill his trust in the FDA and the CDC.
Cuomo: Look, I, I personally hope for a change in the White House, but put that aside. If this administration continued, the CDC, George, and, uh the FDA doesn’t have any credibility. You have Doctor Fauci now saying they basically tried to muzzle him. He has the highest credibility in the nation on this issue. And then, not only is the vaccine safe, this administration is learning nothing from the past. What they’re saying is the day we get the vaccine, that’s when it ends. That’s not true! The day we get the vaccine, we then have to prove to the American people that it’s safe, we then have to administer millions of doses and that is a massive undertaking that this administration hasn’t even talked about, and is going to take months if it’s not done right, it’s going to be a debacle, like back in January and February when we made so many mistakes.
According to the National Review, “coronavirus vaccines that are closest to government approval are currently being tested in tens of thousands of volunteers, run by pharmaceutical companies and medical schools and overseen by government regulators.”
Caitlin Bassett graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s in Politics and Policy. She grew up in the great Pacific Northwest, but now calls Northern California home as she pursues ministry school.