Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that he has serious doubts about Russia’s announcement that it has a vaccine ready to be used for the novel coronavirus.
“Having a vaccine and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things,” Fauci said during a panel discussion with National Geographic.
The comments came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the country had become the first in the world to gain regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Putin said that the vaccine went through clinical testing and that it had proven to offer immunity to the deadly disease, which has infected more than 20 million people worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
However, Phase 3 trials for the drug have reportedly not been completed, triggering skepticism from international health experts about its usefulness.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said that he had seen no evidence supporting Putin’s position.
“I hope that the Russians have actually, definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they’ve done that,” he said, adding that Americans need to understand that the process for gaining vaccine approval requires safety and efficacy.
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