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FDA commissioner: First vaccines could be administered in US Monday

FDA commissioner: First vaccines could be administered in US Monday
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The head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Sunday that the first doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine could be administered to patients in the U.S. as early as Monday following the agency's issuance of emergency clearance.

Stephen Hahn told CNN's "State of the Union" that the federal government is "hopefully" planning to begin administration of the vaccine within hours.

"My hope, again, is that this happens very expeditiously, hopefully tomorrow," Hahn said.

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Host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter Maryland GOP governor says he would have voted to convict Trump Democratic senator defends decision not to call witnesses: 'They weren't going to get more Republican votes' MORE also asked Hahn why Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldFauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' US considering mandatory COVID-19 tests for domestic flyers, CDC official says CDC gets a second opinion: Seven steps to heal our COVID-19 response MORE has yet to accept a CDC panel's vote to clear the vaccine for emergency use in the U.S.

“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Hahn responded. “I do know I’ve had a lot of conversations with director Redfield and he is certainly on top of this, and has a lot of confidence in the process.”

“I’m sure we’ll be hearing very soon about this," he added.

It was reported last week that White House officials, particularly chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE, pressured Hahn for emergency clearance of the COVID-19 vaccine at the expense of safe practices, which the FDA head has denied.

He repeated those denials during the interview Sunday, while adding that he would not go into the contents of his conversations with the White House.

"Nothing guided our decision, no external comments, no external pressure, other than the science and data guided our decision-making," he said. 

His remarks come as the U.S. has passed more than 16 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and is nearing 300,000 deaths resulting from the virus.

--Updated at 10:44 a.m.