Meadows Suggested Hahn’s Job in Danger Over Vaccine Approval

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Meadows Suggested Hahn’s Job in Danger Over Vaccine Approval” – below is their description.

    White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn’s job could be on the line if his agency doesn’t soon approve Pfizer Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    The warning came in a phone call with Hahn on Friday intended to push the Food and Drug Administration to swiftly approve the vaccine. In a statement, Hahn disputed a Washington Post report that Meadows told Hahn to submit his resignation if the vaccine doesn’t receive an emergency-use authorization by the end of the day.

    “This is an untrue representation of the phone call with the chief of staff. The FDA was encouraged to continue working expeditiously on Pfizer-BioNTech’s EUA request,” Hahn said. “FDA is committed to issuing this authorization quickly, as we noted in our statement this morning.”

    An FDA advisory panel voted 17-4, with one abstention, on Thursday that the benefits of Pfizer’s vaccine, which it is developing with BioNTech SE, outweighed any risks.

    President Donald Trump and his administration have placed tremendous political pressure on the FDA to clear the vaccine, which Canada and the U.K. have already approved. Trump in a Friday tweet called the FDA “a big, old, slow turtle,” and demanded Hahn “get the dam vaccines out NOW.”

    The Pfizer vaccine is expected to gain an emergency-use authorization imminently, to be followed by a mass inoculation effort unparalleled in American history. A formal go-ahead from the FDA will set in motion a nationwide distribution effort, starting with 2.9 million doses being made available to states. H

    Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in an ABC News interview on Friday that Americans may start getting shots as soon as Monday.

    The FDA is scrutinizing recent reports of allergic reactions to the vaccine as it readies an emergency-use authorization, according to top U.S. health officials.

    One of the last things the FDA does before clearing a product for public use is make sure the instructions for doctors and patients on the label include up-to-date information about who should use it and how.

    In the past several days, there have been reports of serious allergic reactions to the vaccine in the U.K. After starting immunizations Tuesday, the U.K.’s National Health Service said people with a significant history of allergies shouldn’t receive the shot. The FDA is seeking more information on the allergic reactions from the U.K. drug regulator, Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review, told a committee of agency advisers Thursday.

    “That’s something we’re working with Pfizer right now on is the appropriate language for the doctors, is if you have a pre-existing serious allergic reaction to anything in these vaccines or medical allergies, you should exercise caution in getting these vaccines initially,” Azar said on Friday in an interview with Fox Business News.

    Still, any final hurdles are expected to be cleared in relatively short order. The FDA is working toward a rapid authorization of the shot, and has “notified the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed, so they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution,” the agency said in a statement Friday. Azar tweeted that Pfizer has already been advised that the authorization was coming.

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