U.S. Health Officials Testify Before Senate Panel On COVID-19, Urge Americans To Trust Science; Trump Calls Proposed FDA Guidance On Emergency Coronavirus Vaccine ‘Political Move’; Birx Sees Diminished Role On White House Task Force

CNN: A ‘distressed’ Birx questions how long she can remain on White House task force, sources say
“Once a fixture at the administration’s coronavirus briefings, Dr. Deborah Birx has confided to aides and friends that she has become so unhappy with what she sees as her diminished role as coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force that she is not certain how much longer she can serve in her position, sources familiar with her thinking tell CNN…” (Acosta, 9/23).

Financial Times: U.S. health officials downplay hopes of pre-election vaccine
“Two top U.S. public health officials have played down the chances of having a coronavirus vaccine before the election, despite President Donald Trump insisting that one would be available ‘within weeks.’ Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration head, told Congress that drug companies still face hurdles to getting approval…” (Stacey/Sevastopulo, 9/23).

The Hill: Health officials tell public to trust in science
“Trump administration health officials on Wednesday told a Senate panel that Americans should not lose faith in public health agencies or the vaccine development process, despite a recent spate of political interference. The officials sought to defend the scientific integrity of the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic while reassuring Americans growing increasingly skeptical over the politicization of a vaccine for the virus…” (Weixel, 9/23).

Washington Post: Trump attacks FDA plan for tougher standards on emergency vaccine approval as a ‘political move’
“President Trump on Wednesday said a plan by the Food and Drug Administration to issue tough new standards for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine ‘sounds like a political move’ and warned that the White House might reject it. Trump said he had ‘tremendous trust in these massive companies’ developing prospective vaccines and suggested that they, not federal regulators, could best determine when a vaccine should be made available to the American people…” (Goldstein/McGinley, 9/23).

Additional coverage of U.S. health officials’ testimonies and Trump’s comments on the FDA’s proposed guidance for emergency vaccine approval is available from CNBC (2), The Hill (2), NBC News, and POLITICO (2).

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