Story at a glance

  • “Well, we’re looking at that, that has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it,” Trump said during a White House news briefing Wednesday.
  • Trump said it sounds “like a political move” and questioned why the agency would want to add “great length to the process.”
  • The president has repeatedly said a vaccine could be delivered before Election Day prompting concerns about political pressure intervening in the development of a safe and effective vaccine.

President Trump on Wednesday said the White House may not approve stricter guidelines for the emergency authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine that are reportedly being considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the FDA is proposing new, more rigorous guidance for an emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine. Its aim is to reassure the public that a vaccine that is approved is safe and effective amid fears of political pressure from the Trump administration The new guidance would make it more unlikely a vaccine would be approved before Election Day. 


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Politico reports the agency circulated the proposal widely and it was cleared through the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this week, with the expectation the Trump administration would soon sign off. 

That assumption was thrown into question when the president said he believed the move by the FDA was politically motivated. 

“Well, we’re looking at that, that has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it,” Trump said during a White House press briefing

“That sounds like a political move because when you have Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, these great companies, coming up with the vaccines and they’ve done testing and everything else, I'm saying why would they have to be adding great length to the process?” Trump asked. “I think this was a political move more than anything else.” 


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Trump said he trusts the process currently taking place in the vaccine development and said he sees no reason why the approval should be delayed further. He said a delay in the vaccine for a few weeks could cost lives. 

The president has repeatedly said a vaccine could be delivered before Election Day prompting concerns about political pressure intervening in the development of a safe and effective vaccine. 

On Wednesday, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that a coronavirus vaccine could get approval in November or December. 

“We predict that sometime by the end of this year, let’s say November or December, we will know whether or not these are safe and effective,” Fauci said during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. 


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Published on Sep 24, 2020