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'Speed has nothing to do with compromising safety': Dr. Fauci breaks down the race for a COVID-19 vaccine

The nation's top infectious disease expert covers several decisions that led to the progress of a coronavirus vaccine.

TAMPA, Fla. — With a vaccine getting closer, you might be thinking: "I don't want to get vaccinated because it happened too fast, it can't be safe."

Especially when in the past we've heard that vaccines take years to complete when one for the coronavirus is on track to be developed in a year.

So, how does that happen? Our nations' top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci walks us through it. 

"People hear speed and they say, wow, that's compromising safety. It has nothing to do with safety yet because you haven't even put it into a person. So the speed has to do with the really exquisite technology," Fauci said to The Hastings Center.

In conversation, he said the speed itself is a reflection of scientific advances as the technology didn't have to spend a year growing a virus.

"It's taking a virus that you don't have to grow up or purify, you just need the genetic sequence, you pull the gene out, you stick it into a vaccine platform and literally within days you're making a vaccine. Already you saved maybe a year there," Dr. Fauci said.

The other aspect to consider, according to Fauci, is that the federal government invested billions of dollars at risk, not to the person, to the money.

It started producing vaccines before it knew it worked at the expense of losing a billion dollars if it failed but saving months of production if it succeeded.

Dr. Fauci also stressed that the process to get to a vaccine is sound and is independent of outside influence.

"They're independent. They're the ones that evaluate the data. When they evaluate it, then they present it to me, and the company, and one of the other government agencies," Fauci told the center.

"We look at it, then the company presents it to the FDA with career scientists there who are beholden to no one and then there's an independent advisory committee called VRBAC, or the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, they independently evaluate it."

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