America is close to a coronavirus vaccine. It is the path forward for our nation and the world. Everyone who can take it should.

As a doctor, I can assure you that the vaccine the Food and Drug Administration approves will be both safe and effective. The professionals at the FDA will thoroughly investigate any vaccine before it is made available to the public.

The FDA’s career scientists will make decisions based solely on clinical evidence. The data is made publicly available and is transparent. This is no time for political games. A vaccine is exactly what we need to put the coronavirus pandemic in the rearview mirror.

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A vaccine by January 2021 would be an all-time record. We owe this to the Trump administration’s public-private partnership — Operation Warp Speed – and to the outstanding American scientists working around the clock.

Yet there are skeptics who question the value, safety or efficacy of a vaccine. They question the process and doubt the experts.

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A Washington Post-ABC poll in June found that a quarter of Republicans said they definitely would not get a coronavirus vaccine. They may be skeptical of the vaccine itself, or believe they’ll never get infected.

There may be those who think the Trump administration is rushing a vaccine through approvals. Former Vice President Joe Biden recently suggested the coronavirus vaccine won’t be “real” and might not be safe when it arrives. The New York Times reported that “scientists worry about political influence over coronavirus vaccine.”

My message to the doubters is simple. For your health, the health of your family, and the health of the country — get the vaccine.

Never before has a vaccine entered final-stage clinical trials so quickly. It’s the 21st century equivalent of putting a man on the moon. And it’s not just one vaccine — there are at least six vaccines showing great promise in Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials.

Vaccines in Phase 3 trials have shown encouraging signs of being effective by promoting an antibody response to provide immunity. One vaccine the U.S. government has helped fund provides a double layer of protection by stimulating white blood “T-cells” to help the body fight off the virus.

Rapid progress is the result of robust investment and the right policies in the CARES Act that enabled the federal government to partner with the private sector. Congress and the Trump administration have already invested almost $10 billion in coronavirus vaccine projects. More is on the way.

Americans likely will have access to several vaccines by the start of next year. We are already producing vaccines in advance of approval so abundant supplies will be available as soon as the FDA approves them.

We’ll start with health care workers, other essential workers, and the most vulnerable. Nurses, doctors, and key workers are on the front lines of the fight against the virus. Seniors and people with underlying conditions are most at risk. We must protect these people first.

Make no mistake: This is a process and there will be setbacks. But the variety of vaccine candidates gives us every reason to believe that we will have a safe and effective vaccine available in record time.

Do not listen to the naysayers — the glass-half-empty crowd. They didn’t think we could get our hospital capacity up. We did. They didn’t think we could produce more ventilators. We did. They didn’t think we could deploy therapeutics. We did. Now they are down on vaccines.

At present, we have no protection against the novel coronavirus. If we end up with one or more vaccines that work, even one requiring a booster shot or seasonal updates, it’s a huge win for Americans’ health.

There will be no government mandate to take the vaccine. It’s a personal decision.

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Make the decision for yourself. Talk with your doctor.

Get the vaccine for your own safety and that of others. This is about personal responsibility. It’s about looking out for your spouse, your children, your parents and your grandparents. It’s about guarding against a potentially life-threatening illness.

A vaccine is the key to beating this virus once and for all. It will allow us to fully reopen the economy and to return to normal life.

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This will be the most accessible vaccine in our history. If everyone gets vaccinated, we will stop the coronavirus in its tracks.

A vaccine is how we get back to work. Back to school. Back to normal. Take the vaccine — I certainly will.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM SEN. JOHN BARRASSO

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