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Woodcock on Vaccines, More

Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, tells NPR's All Things Considered that the agency's processes are robust and independent.

The FDA has been grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic for about a year and has authorized tests to detect the virus as well as, now, three vaccines against the virus. But, as NPR notes, the agency has faced political pressure and made some stumbles as it, for instance, relaxed certain regulations that led to a number of antibody tests with high false positive rates

Woodcock, who became acting FDA commissioner with the change in administrations, tells NPR that the agency is "making science and data-based decisions and that will continue." She adds SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that have received emergency use authorization have undergone thorough testing. "They're safe, and they work," she says at NPR. "Very large numbers of people have already received them and been followed very carefully in the clinical trial."

Woodcock says that whether booster or yearly vaccines will be needed is in part up to the susceptibility of viral variants to vaccines and how widely variants spread in the US.