(Bloomberg) — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows plans to meet with FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn for second time in two days on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump continues to push regulators to quickly issue emergency authorization for a coronavirus vaccine.
The meeting — described by three people familiar with the plans who requested anonymity because it has not been announced — comes after the U.K. this week became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s shot.
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday’s meeting, but Trump and other White House officials have been displeased with Hahn and what they perceive as changing criteria for U.S. approval of a vaccine, according to one of the people.
On the campaign trail, Trump had suggested a vaccine would be approved before the Nov. 3 election. It wasn’t, and Pfizer announced a week after the president’s defeat for re-election that preliminary results from its clinical trial showed its shot was better than 90% effective.
The president has claimed personal credit for the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines, most of which were assisted by his administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” project.
He has expressed frustration with what he regards as foot-dragging at the FDA, at one point accusing the agency’s staff of trying to harm his re-election prospects.
On Tuesday, Meadows summoned Hahn to the White House to discuss why the Food and Drug Administration hadn’t moved faster to grant preliminary approval for Pfizer’s vaccine. The White House is planning a Dec. 8 coronavirus vaccine summit that will feature leaders from state governments, the military and scientific community.
“The administration is preparing to deliver this historic, life-saving vaccine to every zip code in the United States within 24 hours of an FDA approval,” White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said.
An FDA advisory panel is scheduled to meet on Dec. 10 — two days after the White House summit — to discuss Pfizer’s clinical trial results and recommend whether the vaccine should be cleared for use. FDA authorization is expected soon after.
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.