North Carolina Senatorial Nominee Cal Cunningham Says He Is ‘Hesitant’ To Take An Eventual Coronavirus Vaccine

(Chris Martin / Twitter screenshot)

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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A Democratic senatorial nominee said Monday that he would be hesitant to take a coronavirus vaccine if it were approved before the end of the year.

“I’ve got questions,” Cal Cunningham, who’s running for Senate in North Carolina, said during a debate against GOP Sen. Thom Tillis. Cunningham expressed concern over “politics intervening in what should be driven by health and science.”

“Yes, I would be hesitant,” he said after the moderator asked if that meant he’d be hesitate to take any vaccine approved by the end of the year. He said politics has “intervened” with the “Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention]’s suggestions and recommendations on how we deal with this pandemic,” seemingly referring to a Politico report alleging that the Trump administration had interfered with the agency’s coronavirus reports.

He said he would traditionally have confidence in the Food and Drug Administration.

Tillis called Cunningham’s answer “irresponsible.”

“We just heard a candidate for the United States Senate look into the camera and tell 10 million North Carolinians he would be hesitant to take a vaccine,” he said. “We are not going to release a vaccine that the gold standard of the FDA doesn’t require.”

Cunningham, a veteran and former member of the state Senate, noted that Tillis has received more than $400,000 from pharmaceutical companies, Fox 46 reported.

Cunningham and Tillis are locked in one of the closest Senate races this cycle, polls show. While Cunningham holds a narrow lead over his opponent, according to FiveThiryEight’s polling average, Tillis has tightened the gap from the beginning of the summer. (RELATED: Mail Voting Begins As North Carolina Sends Out Absentee Ballots)

The race could play a pivotal role in determining which party holds the majority come 2021. North Carolina is also one of the closest presidential battlegrounds in the nation, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by just over one point, according to recent polls.

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