CLOSE

Without masks and a vaccine, we could reach Herd Immunity from COVID-19, but deaths would skyrocket. We break down the science of it.

USA TODAY

Despite the public’s legitimate concerns about political rhetoric, politics is not influencing the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, several public health experts testified to Congress Wednesday.

Both government and independent researchers provide strong oversight of vaccine development, said Dr. Mark McClellan, director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University and a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

“This is not an easy process to disrupt just because somebody says something about it,” he said. “It does undermine confidence, though.”

President Donald Trump has said frequently that a coronavirus vaccine could be available “soon,” “within weeks” and before Election Day. That has raised fears that the White House might pressure the FDA to authorize a vaccine before it has gone through the