Trump attacks FDA on vaccine testing as he pushes for Nov. 3 rollout

  • President Trump attacked the US Food and Drug Administration in a tweet on Saturday, claiming the agency was “making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.”
  • “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd,” Trump wrote.
  • The president’s tweet comes a few days after a top official at the FDA told Reuters that they would resign if the Trump administration pushed for the release of a COVID-19 vaccine that wasn’t safe.
  • There is no evidence that the FDA is delaying treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A few days after a top Food and Drug Administration official said he would resign if the Trump administration released a COVID-19 vaccine that was “unsafe or ineffective,” the president took to Twitter to attack the agency on its timeline for testing immunizations.

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!,” Trump tweeted

The president tagged the agency’s commissioner Stephen Hahn in the tweet.

Trump has repeatedly used the term “deep state” to suggest that employees in government agencies are working against his interests or policy goals. There is no evidence that the FDA is delaying treatments or vaccines for COVID-19. 

In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, has previously said a vaccine likely wouldn’t be deemed safe and effective until December 2020. Another top health official, Michael Caputo of the Department of Health and Human Services, has estimated that a vaccine could take until January 2021.

Members of the scientific community have expressed concerns that the Trump administration, which has said it could have a vaccine available around the time of the November 3 election, would consider releasing an unproven vaccine to meet that timeline, according to Reuters.

When asked on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show earlier this month whether a vaccine could be ready before the election, Trump replied, “I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time.” 

“Look, I just want to save lives. I’m rushing it. I am. I’m pushing everybody,” he said. “If you had another president, other than me, you wouldn’t be talking vaccines for two years.”

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told Reuters that he “could not stand by and see something that was unsafe or ineffective that was being put through.” 

“You have to decide where your red line is, and that’s my red line,” he said. “I would feel obligated (to resign) because in doing so, I would indicate to the American public that there’s something wrong,” he said. 

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