Donald Trump makes lots and lots of ‘promises’ that he cannot keep about things over which he has little or no control. He promised to “drain the swamp”, but brought in bigger, nastier alligators than we had ever seen before. He promised to “build a wall” and that “Mexico will pay for it”. Well, there are bits and pieces of a wall along the southern border, already proven easily scalable, and YOU paid for what’s been built so far, while Mexico sat back and laughed. He promised to “make America great again”, but has only increased the divisiveness that already existed, driven off our allies, cozied up to dictators, caused the further destruction of the environment, botched the response to the coronavirus, increased racial tensions, and … well, you get the idea. Thus far he has bungled every promise he made in one way or another, and frankly most of his promises were not things that would enhance our lives anyway. His latest promise, though, has medical experts concerned.
In May, in one of his “Rose Garden press conferences”, he promised that a vaccine for the coronavirus would be ready by the end of the year. This, despite the fact that nearly all the medical experts are saying that it’s a pipe dream. The fear now, though, is that Trump will force rushed testing in order to push through his ‘promise’, which could be disastrous. We could end up with a vaccine that doesn’t work, or one with devastating side effects. Obviously, since Trump has made it perfectly clear that our lives do not matter to him, he won’t care, just so long as he looks like a hero to his base and wins the election on November 3rd.
Two professors at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Dr. Paul A. Offit wrote an OpEd in the New York Times on June 8th, where they imagined this scenario:
Oct. 23, 2020, 9 a.m., with 10 days before the election, Fox New releases a poll showing President Trump trailing Joe Biden by eight percentage points.
Oct. 23, 2020, 3 p.m., at a hastily convened news conference, President Trump announces that the Food and Drug Administration has just issued an Emergency Use Authorization for a coronavirus vaccine. Mr. Trump declares victory over Covid-19, demands that all businesses reopen immediately and predicts a rapid economic recovery.
Far-fetched? Hardly. Given Trump’s self-dealing and his lack of both intellect and empathy, I can certainly envision that happening. And perhaps millions of people rushing to take the vaccine, without any guarantee of its effectiveness. And, in a few years or less, I can picture a rash of new cancer cases or people suddenly losing their hair or having debilitating muscle spasms or brain tumours, all because the vaccine wasn’t well-tested.
Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Astra Zeneca are planning to move forward with human (guinea pig) testing in July and August, as is the National Institute of Health (NIH). They plan to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers (guinea pigs) on whom they will test the vaccine, but results will take many more months before the vaccine can be marketed to the public. And where will these volunteers (guinea pigs) come from? Would you volunteer? I sure as hell wouldn’t. According to Dr. Fauci, it will likely take months to line up the volunteers (guinea pigs), and then medical experts say it will be between 8-12 months before the efficiency of the vaccine can be determined. The effectiveness trial for the rotavirus vaccines took about four years and the human papillomavirus vaccine studies to prevent cervical cancer took seven years.
Would Trump be able to force a drug company and the NIH to claim a vaccine was effective before they were comfortable doing so? Well, remember last month when top vaccine official Rick Bright was demoted because he tried to “prioritize science and safety over political expediency” and raised health concerns over a drug repeatedly pushed by President Trump as a possible cure for coronavirus. Today, the FDA revoked the use of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, for emergency treatment of coronavirus patients, saying that “it is no longer reasonable to believe” that the drug has any effect on the coronavirus, but it is known to have serious side effects in some patients.
And remember how he has been purging the administration of those whose jobs was to provide oversight? And remember how he’s planning a big rally in Tulsa on Saturday and telling people not to wear masks? So yeah, Trump would try anything. After all, come late October all he needs is a short-term fix … an October Surprise … just enough to boost his polls through November 3rd. After the election, any vaccine can be recalled, scrapped, or people can start dying and he won’t care. He only cares about one thing: winning. For himself, not for you or I.