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Opinion: What good is a vaccine if Americans won't roll up their sleeves?

August 2, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Nurse Kathe Olmstead, right, gives volunteer Melissa Harting, of Harpersville, N.Y., an injection as the world's biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Seema Yasmin writes, "Some Americans might be rightfully wondering: if it usually takes a decade or longer to develop a vaccine, how are scientists condensing this process down to a year? How can the public be sure that corners are not being cut?"

(CNN)A doctor in Texas once told me that a woman walked into a pediatrician's office in the fall of 2014 and said: "Give my daughter the Ebola vaccine. " The biggest Ebola epidemic in history was spreading across West Africa and a man infected with the virus had recently traveled to Dallas.

How vaccine scientists are working at record speed

More than 165 groups around the world are focused on the same virus at the same time, sharing information that could speed up vaccine discovery.

Information learned at each stage of vaccine testing is shared publicly in peer-reviewed journals so that scientists around the world can track -- and criticize -- vaccine trials.

Checking for safety doesn't end when a vaccine makes it through Phase 3 trials.

Doctors can collect information on side effects and report new findings to public health authorities through a vaccine safety surveillance program run by the FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available, millions of people will face an important decision: Take a vaccine that was developed possibly faster than any other in history, or remain vulnerable to a disease that can cause severe illness and even death.

Researchers, government officials, and initiatives like Operation Warp Speed must help the public make these decisions by peeling back the curtain on vaccine development and offering full transparency.

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