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Free of Influence

A letter from nearly 400 public health experts calls on officials from the US Food and Drug Administration to make safety and efficacy data for candidate COVID-19 vaccines public prior to approval, the New York Times reports.

As the Times notes, there have been concerns regarding the influence of politics on the vaccine development process, and the letter, which was organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, calls on Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, to ensure "a transparent and rigorous FDA approval process."

"Everyone in our nation is anxiously awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine," Rebekah Gee, chief executive of health care services at Louisiana State University and a signatory of the letter, tells the Times. "It's important to public health to save lives, and for our economy, but we want to make sure that whatever is done is done in an open process that is devoid of political influence."

In an op-ed appearing in the Washington Post yesterday, Hahn writes that only a safe and effective vaccine will receive FDA approval. "I have repeatedly said that all FDA decisions have been, and will continue to be, based solely on good science and data," he writes. "The public can count on that commitment."