Meadows Meets FDA Chief When Trump Asks About Status of Emergency Vaccine Approval

Meadows summed up Hahn about updating progress over the weekend. Hahn asked for their meeting over the phone, a source said, but the White House told him that the chief of staff had met more in person. This seems to have raised concerns within the FDA that the meeting could become tense, prompting Hahn to make a statement to Axios on Monday night in defense of the FDA timeline.

“Let me be clear: our career scientists need to make the decision and devote enough time to making the right call for that important decision,” Hahn said in a statement.

The person familiar with the meeting tells CNN that Hahn is ready to explain to the president’s team that it is not his decision to grant permission for emergency use. The review is done by career scientists and does not make an independent decision.

On November 20, Pfizer applied for an emergency license. The FDA’s approval for emergency use is not the same as full approval, but CNN has previously reported allowing the products to be used in special circumstances before all evidence is available. The FDA has previously announced that it has scheduled a meeting with its external advisory board to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s request for emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine by Dec. 10.

However, Trump has become frustrated in private about how long the process will take, sources told CNN. He proudly and publicly acknowledged that he had put pressure on the FDA to move faster.

“It could have taken four or five years,” Trump told reporters about the progress of the Thanksgiving vaccine. “Normally, it probably should have been four or five years, just through the FDA. We were pushing very hard.”

Amid the president’s complaints that the FDA is operating too slowly, White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News Tuesday that the agency was working “day and night,” but he said Trump would never apologize for a fire. placed on these agencies “.

“We definitely want a safe vaccination. We also want a fast vaccination because life is at stake and vaccination until the end of the year is key and most important,” McEnany said.

It is unclear how the meeting between Meadows and Hahn will take place. Distrust between Trump’s closest advisers and career scientists dealing with the FDA existed even before the FDA issued public statements about Monday night’s meeting.

“The FDA has been preparing for an EUA review of Covid-19 vaccines for several months and is ready to do so as soon as the EUA’s application is submitted,” Hahn said shortly after Pfizer requested permission for emergency use in the statement. vaccine in late November. “While we can’t predict how long the FDA review will take, the FDA will review the application as soon as possible, while doing so in a thorough and scientifically sound manner to help provide a vaccine that the American people deserve as soon as possible. . “