President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE touted the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday, calling it “really good news” for the country and an historic accomplishment.
“Today our nation has achieved a medical miracle. We have delivered a safe and effective vaccine in just nine months. It is one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history. It will save millions of lives and soon end the pandemic once and for all,” Trump said in a video posted to Twitter.
“On behalf of the American people, I’d like to thank all of the brilliant scientists, technicians, doctors and workers who made this all possible," he added.
The praise comes after the FDA cleared the Pfizer vaccine candidate, moving it one step closer to entering the arms of millions of Americans. Vaccinations won’t begin until after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee recommends the vaccine and the CDC accepts that recommendation, though that is anticipated to happen in the next few days.
The president looked to take credit for the development, noting that the administration's Operation Warp Speed signed a nearly $2 billion contract with Pfizer in July for the rights to 100 million doses.
“Through Operation Warp Speed, my administration provided a total of $14 billion to accelerate vaccine development and to manufacture all of the top candidates in advance,” he said, adding that the vaccine will be “free for all Americans.”
The administration has already begun shipping the vaccine “to every state and ZIP code in the country,” Trump said, and governors will decide who gets vaccinated first.
“We want our senior citizens, health care workers and first responders to be first in line. This will quickly and dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalizations,” the president added.
Trump and other members of the administration repeatedly pressed the FDA to move the Pfizer vaccine along after data showed it to be 95 percent effective. Trump Friday morning called the agency an “old, slow turtle,” and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE reportedly told FDA Commissioner Stephen HahnStephen HahnTrump discussed sending infected Americans to Guantanamo Bay: book Stephen Hahn joining venture capital firm behind Moderna Redfield says Azar pressured him to revise COVID-19 data reports MORE on Friday to submit his resignation if the vaccine doesn’t receive an emergency use authorization by the end of the day.
However, the administration has come under fire after reports emerged that it turned down an offer from Pfizer earlier this year to purchase additional doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which the White House has denied.