HHS Sec'y Backs FDA Chief Over Trump in Debate Over Vaccine Timetable: If Science, Data Say So ‘We Slow Down'
Added 09-24-20 08:34:02pm EST - “HHS Secretary Alex Azar backs the FDA chief over Trump in public debate about Covid-19 vaccine timetable: 'If the science and data? say slow down, we slow down'” - Mediaite.com
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HHS Secretary Alex Azar appeared to come down on the side of the FDA — and push back on President Donald Trump — about the timetable for a Covid-19 vaccine during an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.
Speaking with the Fox anchor on Thursday, Azar was pressed about the very open disagreement between the president and his public safety officials about how quickly a coronavirus vaccine could be developed. Earlier in the week, news reports revealed that the FDA would soon announce that any Covid-19 vaccine must pass more rigorous testing requirements before an emergency use approval. The additional two months of follow-up studies that the agency reportedly plans to put in place for the trial’s phase 3 would seriously jeopardize Trump’s repeated promises of having a vaccine ready by Election Day.
On Wednesday at his White House press briefing, Trump had tried to suggest the FDA’s decision was a “political” move.. “That has to be approved by the White House,” he claimed, about the new vaccine trial guideline. “We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move.”
As Baier wound up the interview, he circled back to the conflicting timetables. “I want to ask you one last question about the vaccine and the process,” Baier said. “The head of the FDA, Dr. [Stephen] Hahn speaking about the process and the president weighing in and about how fast it’s going to take.”
Baier then played clips of Hahn pledging to block any political pressure in rushing the vaccine through its safety tests, and Trump effectively contradicting him by scoffing at the need for any more delays in the trial.
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