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President Donald Trump claimed on Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Democrats delayed releasing news on a potential vaccine to hurt his reelection chances.
Trump made the allegation on Monday evening over Twitter after news broke of a potential Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 being authorized by the end of November. The drug manufacturer released early survey results of its vaccine, created with the German drug manufacturer BioNTech, showing it to be potentially 90% effective at inoculating against the disease.
“The [FDA] and the Democrats didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later – As I’ve said all along!” Trump tweeted.
The @US_FDA and the Democrats didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later – As I’ve said all along!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2020
Pfizer announced the news on Monday morning and said that early survey results based off 94 trial participants in a study involving 43,538 subjects showed that the vaccine could be as high as 90% effective against the virus. As The Daily Wire reported:
The company said that it plans to apply for Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this month after passing certain safety thresholds. The FDA has required that companies study the effects of their vaccines in at least 30,000 subjects, including people considered elderly and others in high-risk categories. Those subjects must then be monitored for adverse side-effects for at least two months. Pfizer is poised to meet that criteria for its vaccine by the end of November, according to the AP.
The announcement was touted by the Trump administration as a success for Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s plan to greatly accelerate the production of a coronavirus vaccine. Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, had initially denied that the company had ever taken part in the Trump administration initiative.
“We were never part of the Warp Speed,” Jansen told The New York Times. “We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”
Pfizer later walked back Jansen’s comment, claiming that the Times took her comments out of context and that the pharmaceutical company participated in Operation Warp Speed. Pfizer had put out a press release back in July announcing as much.
“Pfizer is proud to be one of various vaccine manufacturers participating in Operation Warp Speed as a supplier of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. While Pfizer did reach an advanced purchase agreement with the U.S. government, the company did not accept BARDA funding for the research and development process,” the company said in a statement. “All the investment for R&D and manufacturing has been made by Pfizer at risk. Dr. Jansen’s comment, which was taken out of context, was just emphasizing that last point.”
NEW: Pfizer tells me in a statement that Dr. Jansen’s comments claiming the company was not a part of Operation Warp Speed were “taken out of context.” https://t.co/JZhQzZ8DCt pic.twitter.com/C8Ozl0EkkJ
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) November 9, 2020
If Pfizer’s timeline holds accurate and the vaccine is ready to be administered to the public by the end of the month, the vaccine will likely not be in widespread use for many months yet as drug manufacturers work to produce enough doses to inoculate millions of people. Early doses will first be administered among the most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly.