Vastavam web: President Donald Trump on Friday piled pressure on the US drug regulator to quickly approve the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as America readied to roll out mass immunizations. The Washington Post reported that the White House told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Stephen Hahn to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the vaccine by the end of the day.
Hahn later disputed the characterization of the call, but the alleged threat came as Trump tweeted that the agency was a “big, old, slow turtle” and told Hahn to get the “dam” vaccines out immediately. These included a fact sheet for doctors. The FDA has said it wants to warn people with severe allergies to avoid the shots for now.
Trump’s intervention reinserts politics into the scientific process, which could undermine vaccine confidence in the world’s hardest-hit country, where the death toll is nearing 300,000. It was also not clear whether having an EUA a day or two earlier than expected would change when the first Americans — nursing home residents and health care workers — would get their injections, which is expected Monday or Tuesday. The government also said Friday that it is buying 100 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine candidate, amid reports the government passed on the opportunity to secure more supply of the Pfizer jab.
The purchase brings its total supply of Moderna doses to 200 million, enough to immunize 100 million people with the two-shot regimen, which is yet to be green-lighted by authorities. And in Australia, the development of a vaccine at The University of Queensland was abandoned Friday after clinical trials produced a false positive HIV result among subjects involved in early testing. The mixed news on the vaccine front comes as infections accelerated fast in North America and parts of Africa but started to stabilize in Europe and drop in Asia and the Middle East.