To refute Trump, the FDA commissioner said the Pfizer vaccine could not have been approved earlier

“We don’t feel like it could have appeared a week earlier,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn replied with ABC’s “This Week”. “We went through our process. We promised the American people to examine the application thoroughly, and we did. We followed our process.”

In an interview broadcast on Fox News on Sunday morning, after appearing to acknowledge the speed of vaccine development, Trump said the Food and Drug Administration could have authorized the shot for emergency use “last week.”

“They could have done it up to a week earlier,” the president continued.

Given the pressure Trump and his administration have put on the FDA in recent weeks, Martha Raddatz, a co-sponsor of “This Week,” challenged Hahn in a report on Friday, as the commissioner denied, that his work was jeopardized by vaccination.

“When President Trump tweeted at you last Friday: “Get the dam [sic] vaccinations NOW “- I know you said you weren’t threatened with firing, but Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called you and said,” hurry? “

“Martha said from the beginning that only science and data matter in this,” Hahn said. “Of course, we were asked to speed up this process as much as possible.”

The FDA finally approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use on Friday, which has already been approved in the UK, making it the first available COVID-19 immunization in the United States. 2.9 million doses of the vaccine will be distributed to 636 sites in the country’s 50 states, with the first delivery expected to arrive Monday morning.

But while experts welcomed the rapid development of the vaccine, which is widely seen as a crucial step in eradicating the coronavirus epidemic, there is concern that rampant skepticism about the safety of immunization could allow the virus to spread continuously. According to the latest polls, 25-40% of Americans do not want to be COVID-19 vaccinated.

– What problems do these numbers pose? Raddatz asked Hahn Sunday.

“This is a significant problem,” the commissioner said. “If you think about how we can recover from this pandemic, we must now continue our mitigation efforts, which are so important, wearing a mask and so on. But as we see the light at the end of the tunnel, as we get over it, achieve herd immunity.”

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, says 80-90% of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity or broad protection against the disease because it is unable to contract or may be affected.

“That means we need to vaccinate a significant number of people in this country, including those who are hesitant,” Hahn continued on Sunday. “We need to address their fears and concerns. We need to do this in a way that gives people confidence. But we also need to be transparent. What do we know? What do we know? [not] to know?”

Concerns raised by the public include the incidence of allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the UK since the first doses were given last week. As a result, we recommend that people in that country who have had any severe allergic reactions should not take the shot.

“That’s why we evaluate the data line by line,” Hahn said when asked about the warning. He added that no allergic reactions were seen in subjects in clinical trials, but that the FDA prioritized public safety and followed the UK leadership, in part by issuing advice to people with allergies on vaccine ingredients. “We have put on our label that those who have any evidence of a severe allergy to any component of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should not receive it. However, with extreme caution, we have also asked the available dose at the distribution points about drugs that may be needed for treatment.”

On the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control, health workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities should be the first group of people immunized this week, but some officials note that the first delivery of vaccines does not include enough vials to fully deliver these. populations, Raddatz asked Hahn when more doses would be available, including the entire population.

“I am aware that many in the U.S. government are working very closely with Pfizer and other developers to get the most out of it out there,” Hahn said, describing it as an “all-in-one” situation. “At the FDA, what we’re doing is working to make sure they’re the forerunners of supply chains. So whatever we can do to speed it up, we’re going to do it anyway.”