Trump Says FDA Attempts To Toughen COVID-19 Vaccine Standards Sound ‘Political’

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President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he may reject new Food and Drug Administration guidelines that toughen the rules around the emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine, undercutting the nation’s top scientists who have sought to allay any fears about a rushed approval.

“That has to be approved by the White House,” Trump said at a briefing on the potential new guidelines. “We may or may not approve it.”

The FDA said earlier this week that it planned to soon release stricter guidelines for vaccine approval, which would lay out specific rules for clinical trial data and recommend any results be vetted by independent experts. The comments also came just hours after four of the country’s top doctors — including FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert — defended the agency’s work and said it was relying on science, not political pressure from the White House.

Trump, however, used the briefing Wednesday to say that the stricter guidelines meant to bolster faith in any vaccine sounded “like a political move” and that he had “tremendous trust” in the pharmaceutical giants working to develop them, adding that he wasn’t sure “a government as big as” the U.S. could do as good of a job.

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“When you have great companies coming up with these vaccines, why would [the FDA] have to be, you know, adding great length to the process?” Trump said. “We want to have people not get sick. I don’t see why it should be delayed further.”

The move comes as four vaccine candidates are in their final, large-scale clinical trials in the...

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