I agree with a recent Post and Courier editorial calling for a transparent plan for administering a COVID-19 vaccine.
Equally important, we need complete transparency around the approval of such vaccines, so that we have full confidence in their safety and effectiveness.
The Food and Drug Administration has responsibility for such approval, but several recent decisions by the FDA and Commissioner Stephen Hahn have led to a crisis of confidence.
For example, in March the FDA granted an Emergency Use Authorization to hydroxychloroquine, which President Donald Trump promoted as a “miracle drug,” only to revoke that authorization three months later because the drug did not work and reports of serious side effects.
Then in August, the FDA granted EUA to COVID-19 convalescent plasma and to broaden the approval of the drug remdesivir, again under pressure from the Trump administration.
Almost immediately the scientific community protested that the data was insufficient to support such authorizations, and Dr. Hahn was forced to apologize for grossly misrepresenting the evidence.
Now Dr. Hahn has stated that he is prepared to authorize a vaccine even before Phase 3 trials are completed.
These trials are essential to prove the vaccine is safe and effective. They take time and there is no shortcut.
To ensure the public health, we must demand that any vaccine approval be based on the science, and not on lies and political motivations.
C. EDWARD COFFEY
The Sept. 7 Post and Courier article by Adam Parker on wealth disparity across South Carolina and the U.S. took a look at the root causes of poverty among African Americans.
The article referenced “The Color of Law,” a book by Richard Rothstein.
Bill Gates named the book an honorable mention on his list of best books of 2017. He said, “I’ve been trying to learn more about the forces preventing economic mobility in the United States, and it (“The Color of Law”) helped me understand the role federal policies have played in creating racial segregation in American cities.”
Rothstein said his book forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.
Another book worth reading is “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson, which was also referenced in the article.
What’s missing is a new civil rights movement that makes it uncomfortable to maintain these segregated patterns.
I guess this is where the NAACP, The Urban League, United Way, the Coastal Community Foundation and other organizations and agencies that work on a local, state and national level must come together and have a call to action and work toward eliminating these disparities.
This could begin to make life a little better for those within our communities and society as a whole now and for future generations.
Airlines need help
I am an American Airlines flight attendant based in New York. I commute from Charleston and have been flying for six years.
This pandemic is the worst crisis to hit the industry in the history of commercial aviation. Congress passed the Payroll Support Program to save jobs and stabilize our industry. It has been our lifeline.
However, thousands of jobs will disappear on Oct. 1 if Congress does not extend the program soon.
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Aviation is essential to a strong economy, including our local economy here in Charleston. This is why Congress overwhelming supports an extension of the PSP. But it can happen only if Congress and the White House negotiate and pass a stimulus bill.
I ask leaders in Washington to do their job so I can do mine.
Americans will be ready to travel again, but for this to happen, aviation workers must be ready, too.
I’ve been critical of DHEC testing and lengthy result turnaround.
Since professional sporting events have restarted and universities have reopened, those organizations have been able to get testing done much faster than many South Carolinians. That’s because these organizations and universities have the money, so they can get test results in one to two days.
It’s too bad that the Legislature didn’t use some of South Carolina’s budget surplus to pay for universal and more frequent testing with rapid turnaround.
Forest Ridge Drive
Pass carbon fee
Most people living in South Carolina have managed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. As our atmosphere and oceans become warmer, Americans will feel the impact from more severe storms and other extreme weather.
We are seeing concerning data from climate scientists that hurricanes are becoming more severe and dangerous as global temperatures rise.
The warmer our atmosphere and oceans become, the more severe the storms and other extreme weather events are that impact the American people.
If we do nothing, hurricanes and other natural disasters, such as the wildfires ravaging the West Coast, will continue to take innocent lives and cause billions of dollars worth of property and infrastructure damage.
As a volunteer working with Citizen’s Climate Lobby, I believe we have a democratic and cost-effective solution within our reach to curb carbon emissions.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) is bipartisan legislation that has been introduced into the U.S. House.
It would impose a carbon fee on carbon extraction that is reimbursed to American citizens in the form of a dividend.
The carbon fee is expected to drive down carbon emissions 40% in 12 years and 90% by 2050.
An economic study has predicted that lower- and middle-income households will receive dividends that exceed rising carbon costs.
If you are concerned about the increasing impacts of climate change, please reach out to your representative and encourage him to endorse H.R. 763.