Trump Administration Pushed FDA to Allow Citizens to Choose Vaccines Sooner

(p. A7) On Sept. 23 [2020], Dr. Stephen M. Hahn left a virtual meeting of the White House’s coronavirus task force to take a call from the president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

Mr. Meadows was angry with Dr. Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, for pushing new guidelines for vaccine developers, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the call who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. The F.D.A. wanted to require two months of follow-up data to make sure a vaccine was safe and effective, all but ensuring one would not be ready by Election Day as President Trump had promised.

Mr. Meadows told the commissioner the White House would not sign off on the guidance because it was unnecessary and would delay vaccine approval, so he should drop it, the officials said.

. . .

Mr. Meadows, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and the president himself have called Dr. Hahn directly to urge him to speed up emergency authorization of vaccines and treatments, according to the two senior administration officials.

But despite the White House refusal to approve the new vaccine guidance document, the F.D.A. published the guidelines in briefing materials to an advisory committee that will discuss them on Thursday [October 22, 2020], effectively making them official.

For the full story, see:

Sheila Kaplan, Sharon LaFraniere, Noah Weiland and Maggie Haberman. “How the F.D.A. Stood Firm Against White House Pressure.” The New York Times (Wednesday, October 21, 2020): A7.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed dates, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 20, 2020, and has the title “How the F.D.A. Stood Up to the President.”)

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