Coronavirus Vaccines in Politics

By Cassie Kim

Pfitzer and Moderna, the two most prominent vaccines that have emerged in the past month, have both had over a 95 percent success rate in their trials. The Pfitzer vaccine has been granted Emergency Usage Approval (EUA) from the FDA, and the United States has started the rollout of vaccines. Since the supply of vaccines is limited and each vaccine requires two shots, it is expected that only approximately 22.5 million Americans will be able to receive vaccinations by the end of this year. This has presented an ethical and logistical nightmare for both the CDC and for individual states: who should receive the vaccine first? Healthcare workers have been first on the list for a vaccine. 

Although the vaccines have gone through necessary testing and are supported by science, many healthcare workers have expressed their concerns about being the guinea pigs for a vaccine. Their hesitation might have a lot to do with our highly polarized political climate. According to STAT and the Harris Poll, 78 percent of Americans are concerned that the development of the vaccines was pushed along by politics more than science. How true is this? 

The CDC has assured the public that the safety of the vaccines is their top priority and Americans are also encouraged to do their own research into the vaccines in order to understand them and to increase their confidence in the science behind the vaccine, yet the release of the vaccines has been politicized. It has become a symbol of political controversy rather than a medical cure, largely thanks to the election, political polarization, and conspiracies. In response to the politicization of this possibly life-saving vaccine, representatives from Pfiltzer have stated that “absolutely no political considerations [were] involved in this process.” Since the vaccine will most likely become available later this year, the public will have plenty of time to research the science behind the vaccines, science which is backed by large clinical trials. 

As vaccines become increasingly available, the government will work to sort out the logistical nightmare that vaccines have presented, and Americans will watch to see how the situation unfolds and what their next steps should be.