DES MOINES, Iowa — Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 will be safe, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, said during a stop in Des Moines on Tuesday.
Carson toured Plymouth Place, a senior living complex, during his Iowa visit. It was his first trip to Iowa since the Feb. 3 caucuses, where he campaigned on behalf of President Donald Trump.
Carson said that Iowans shouldn’t be concerned that clinical trials for potential virus vaccines will be rushed and not safe. “These things go through rigorous trials. They have to go through safety testing,” Carson said, “There’s no way to shortcut that. There are boxes that have to be checked at each part of the trial. And if you don’t check the box, you don’t move on to the next phase.”
President Trump has insisted that a vaccine could be available by October. Carson didn’t offer a timeline but said that three companies had begun clinical trials on their versions of potential vaccines. One of those studies had been paused after a participant fell ill during the study.
One national poll found that a majority of Americans would not feel comfortable getting a vaccine before the Nov. 3 election. The poll found that six in ten Americans cited political pressure as reason for concern about a vaccine arriving that soon.
Carson offered this to those who would be reluctant to get a vaccine: “I would say … would you rather continue with COVID-19 controlling your life or would you like to get to the other side of this and move on?”