Letters to the Editor: Trump is gravely undermining public confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine

Trump and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn
President Trump listens as Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, discusses convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients on Aug. 23.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

To the editor: As a physician, I believe in the scientific method of vaccine development and clinical testing. I understand the rationale behind herd immunity and that it likely won’t be accomplished with COVID-19 until about 70% of the population is immune. (“Sorry, Mr. President. There’s no miracle cure for COVID-19,” editorial, Aug. 25)

As can be seen by the Swedish experience, simply allowing the virus to spread is not the way to beat it. We need a vaccine .

The other day I held out my arm for this year’s flu shot, but I do not have confidence that the first available COVID-19 vaccine will have been properly tested for safety and efficacy. President Trump is exerting pressure get a vaccine approved before the election, so as a believer in science, I have serious doubts about being inoculated against COVID-19.

I have little hope we will achieve 70% immunity. More than 170,000 Americans have died from this virus, many because of the Trump administration’s failure to take timely action. More will die because of the way he has needlessly instilled doubt about treatments and a vaccine.


Lawrence Rudd, MD, Pasadena


To the editor: As an elementary school student I was called a “polio pioneer.” I was part of the study in the 1950s (I still have my ID card) that ultimately led to a vaccine that saved millions of people around the world from polio.

For a number of weeks all of us marched through the nurse’s office in our school. Some got the real vaccine, and some got the placebo. My card now says I got the vaccine.

This is the way testing is supposed to work. Now comes Trump telling everyone that a vaccine is on the way and is on the fast track to being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The public must understand the danger of accepting a vaccine that has not been fully tested.

Last week, my wife and I had our annual flu shots, which are safe and typically highly effective. Unless and until a COVID-19 vaccine is fully tested, we will not consider using it.

Jay Slater, Los Angeles