Trump, U.S. Health Officials Disagree On Coronavirus Vaccine Timeline; HHS Secretary Azar Asserts Power Over FDA Decisions

New York Times: Top U.S. Health Officials Tiptoe Around Trump’s Vaccine Timeline
“As the nation’s coronavirus death toll neared 200,000, top administration health officials on Sunday delicately sidestepped President Trump’s ambitious declaration last week that a coronavirus vaccine would be available for every American by April. Instead, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, who heads up national testing efforts, and Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, offered a slightly more conservative timetable for vaccine availability…” (Gorman, 9/20).

New York Times: In ‘Power Grab,’ Health Secretary Azar Asserts Authority Over FDA
“In a stunning declaration of authority, Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, this week barred the nation’s health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, from signing any new rules regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices, and other products, including vaccines. Going forward, Mr. Azar wrote in a Sept. 15 memorandum obtained by the New York Times, such power ‘is reserved to the Secretary.’ The bulletin was sent to heads of operating and staff divisions within HHS. It’s unclear if or how the memo would change the vetting and approval process for coronavirus vaccines, three of which are in advanced clinical trials in the United States…” (Kaplan, 9/19).

Additional coverage of the discrepancies between Trump’s and health experts’ vaccine predictions is available from Financial Times and Roll Call.

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