U.S. Skeptical of Russia’s Virus Vaccine Safety

TAIPAI, Taiwan (AP) -
A scientist works inside a laboratory of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology during the production and laboratory testing of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia, August 6. (The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)/Handout via Reuters)

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says it’s more important to have a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus than to be the first to produce a vaccine.

Azar, on a visit to Taiwan, was asked on Tuesday what he thought of Russia’s announcement that it had become the first country to register a vaccine against the virus.

He says, “The point is not to be first with a vaccine. The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.”

He says it’s important to have transparent data on the vaccine to prove its safety and efficacy. He also noted that the U.S. has six vaccines in development under the Operation Warp Speed initiative.

The U.S. has the highest death and case count in the world, with more than 163,000 deaths and over 5 million cases.

Meanwhile, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway expressed skepticism about the testing backing up Russia’s claim that it has developed a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The U.S. standards are so much more stringent,” Conway said Tuesday. ““Our FDA in our country sets the standards and what I understand from the Russia announcement is this is nowhere near where we are.”