December 12th – US media reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told FDA Director Stephen Hahn on the 11th local time that if the agency still does not approve before the end of the day. Please submit your resignation for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sweden for emergency use.
According to the Washington Post on the 11th local time, the warning prompted FDA Director Hahn and the agency to speed up the timetable for approval of vaccines from Saturday (12th). The New York Times, Axios and Reuters also confirmed the news, and Meadows told Hahn to resign if he did not act quickly to approve the vaccine. On the same day, US President Trump also threatened.
Trump wrote on social media to criticize the FDA as a “huge and slow turtle” when dealing with vaccines, warning Hahn that “it’s time to come up with the vaccine” and “don’t play tricks with me, it’s important to save lives”.
According to the report, the threat of Meadows and Tran has increased the pressure on Hahn and the FDA. Trump has complained that the vaccine was not approved before election day, and accused “procrastination” behavior affecting his re-election.
In addition, Trump is dissatisfied with the previous approval of the vaccine by the United Kingdom in the United States, although the Pfizer vaccine has shortened the development and review time.
In a statement on Friday (11th), Hahn said the FDA had informed Pfizer that it would “swiftly complete the final process and issue emergency use authorizations” after the agency’s advisory committee approved the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday (10th).
In addition, the report noted that the FDA also notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Curvature Rapid Action program “so that they can carry out the plan and distribute vaccines in a timely manner”.
U.S. media criticized that this threat once again injects political factors into the vaccine competition, which may undermine public trust in the vaccine. As many in the United States remain unsure whether they will be vaccinated, the process of approval of the vaccine is to show that no shortcut has been taken in reviewing the safety and efficacy of vaccines.