White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told FDA Chief Stephen Hahn to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine by the end of Friday or resign, the Washington Post reported.
The United Kingdom and Canada have both already approved Pfizer’s vaccine, even as the U.S. — where the vaccine was developed — has yet to approve it. Hahn has denied WaPo’s characterization of his phone call with Meadows, however, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) December 11, 2020
UPDATE: “This is an untrue representation of the phone call with the CoS. The FDA was encouraged to continue working expeditiously on […] EUA request. FDA is committed to issuing this authorization quickly as we noted in our statement this morning” -Dr Hahn per @albamonica https://t.co/p9FXsGd6RF
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) December 11, 2020
Meadows’ reported call with Hahn echoes the sentiment President Donald Trump expressed Friday morning on Twitter. (RELATED: Pfizer Vaccine ‘Likely’ To Be Discouraged For Pregnant Women, FDA Adviser Says)
While my pushing the money drenched but heavily bureaucratic @US_FDA saved five years in the approval of NUMEROUS great new vaccines, it is still a big, old, slow turtle. Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2020
The FDA began the final step of approval on the vaccine Thursday, convening a council that ultimately voted in favor of using the vaccine on anyone over the age of 16, though there are steps yet to be taken.
The Trump administration promised that 100 million doses of an effective vaccine would be available by the end of 2020, and that an additional 600 million would be available to the public by March 2021, though there was some disagreement about the timeline.
Trump has also accused President-Elect Joe Biden of seeking to “take over” credit for developing the vaccine, which occurred at a record pace. Traditional vaccines take years or even decades to develop. Pfizer’s vaccine, if approved, will have been developed in less than a year.