America’s FDA chief defends prolonged approval process for COVID-19 vaccine after Trump calls agency ‘big, old, slow turtle’

America’s FDA chief defends prolonged approval process for COVID-19 vaccine after Trump calls agency ‘big, old, slow turtle’

After Hahn was asked on ABC News’ This Week, Sunday, whether Trump is correct in saying that the vaccine could have been passed by the FDA a week earlier, the commissioner disagreed.

“We do not feel that this could have been out a week earlier,” Hahn declared, claiming that they went through the proper process.

Hahn noted that the FDA had promised Americans that it would perform “a thorough review” of the vaccine before giving it the official stamp of approval and argued that’s what the agency successfully did.

“We were encouraged to move quickly, and we were already moving quickly, and I feel very confident about the decision we made,” he said.

Hahn found himself under fire from the Trump administration this past week, with Trump going after the commissioner on Twitter, Friday.

“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,” Trump posted, concluding, “Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!”

It was also reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had told the commissioner to either approve the vaccine by Friday or resign from his post.

Hahn described the reports as “an untrue representation” of his conversation with Meadows, and claimed he was merely “encouraged to continue working expeditiously.”

The FDA commissioner refused to go into detail about his conversation with Meadows during the Sunday ABC interview, however, telling the network that he would not “discuss individual conversations.”

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