Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Thursday that his agency “will not cut corners” when it comes to approving a Covid-19 vaccine.
On Wednesday, an FDA official announced that the agency could issue an emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine in a matter of weeks — once a vaccine meets efficacy requirements.
Speaking on NBC’s Today show on Thursday, Hahn said that even though things have been moving quickly on the vaccine development front, the FDA will focus on assisting developers and making sure a potential vaccine meets the safety and efficacy standards.
“We’re going to call the balls and strikes on this,” Hahn said. “We will not cut corners. We will use our very high standards of safety and effectiveness. We’ll look at those data, and we’ll make a determination based upon those high standards. We have terrific scientists and people at FDA, and I know — and I’m confident — that we’ll do that job on behalf of the American people.”
Hahn said it’s possible that a vaccine could be ready for distribution by the end of the year. “Things have been moving very quickly. I know our team is looking at data in real-time from these trials. And that should help us expedite this,” Hahn told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
He said the decision on whether to take hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been both promoted and taken by President Donald Trump, should be made between a patient and their doctor.
When asked whether he was concerned about misinformation regarding the drug, Hahn said that “what I’m concerned about is that FDA provide all the information about the side effects, the potential side effects, as well as the efficacy.”