The FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidate for COVID-19 by Friday night — a deadline reportedly set after an ultimatum from President Trump to FDA chief Stephen Hahn to approve it or resign, according to the Washington Post.
Trump tweeted on Friday that the FDA was “still a big, old, slow turtle” and ordered Hahn to “Get the dam vaccines out NOW” and “Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!” [sic]
While my pushing the money drenched but heavily bureaucratic @US_FDA saved five years in the approval of NUMEROUS great new vaccines, it is still a big, old, slow turtle. Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2020
The FDA’s Vaccine advisory panel recommended the vaccine for emergency authorization on Thursday night. The UK, Bahrain, and Canada have already authorized the vaccine in the last 10 days.
According to the Post:
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened.