Why politics may get in the way of the public accepting a COVID-19 vaccine

The key to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic may have less to do with vaccine science and logistics and more to do with public trust. Week after week, actions by Trump administration appointees have raised suspicions that political motives rather than science are driving decision-making in the development of the vaccine.



a person wearing a mask: A shot is administered March 16 as part of a first-stage clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 manufactured by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)


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A shot is administered March 16 as part of a first-stage clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 manufactured by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Events like these have shaken my faith — and the faith of many others — in two of the country’s most revered scientific institutions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which collects and analyzes healthcare data, and the Food and Drug Administration, which approves diagnostic tests and treatments.

As a longtime clinical scientist at the National Institutes of Health, I worked closely

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