Presidents of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) have warned of "alarming" political interference in science in the country's response to COVID-19.
"We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming," said a recent statement of NAS President Marcia McNutt and NAM President Victor J. Dzau.
"It undermines the credibility of public health agencies and the public's confidence in them when we need it most," said the statement.
"As advisers to the nation on all matters of science, medicine, and public health, we are compelled to underscore the value of science-based decision-making at all levels of government," said the statement.
"Our nation is at a critical time in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with important decisions ahead of us, especially concerning the efficacy and safety of vaccines," said the statement.
Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated, said the two presidents.
Ending the pandemic will require decision-making that is not only based on science but also sufficiently transparent to ensure public trust in, and adherence to, sound public-health instructions, said the statement.
"Any efforts to discredit the best science and scientists threaten the health and welfare of us all," said the statement.