In meetings focused on vaccine development throughout the spring and summer, President Trump has consistently pressed officials to speed up their timeline for developing a vaccine, administration officials said, saying the President appeared intent on being able to deliver at least the solid promise of an effective vaccine by the time he faces reelection.

Those efforts have only scaled up as Election Day nears, and Trump has repeatedly complained that some officials at federal health agencies are actively working to stymie his reelection chances by slow-walking announcements that might project forward momentum.

“It will be delivered before the end of the year, in my opinion, before the end of the year, but it really might even be delivered before the end of October,” Trump said about a vaccine at a Pennsylvania rally Thursday night. “How do you like that? Wouldn’t that be nice? And you know why? Not because of the election. It’d be nice because we want to save people.”

On calendars peppered with early voting deadlines and presidential debates, some of Trump’s advisers have circled Oct. 22, when a once obscure panel of academics and researchers convened by the FDA will weigh “the development, authorization and/or licensure” of a coronavirus vaccine.

It’s unlikely the meeting itself will result in a clear directive, officials said, and the board doesn’t have final say on when or how a vaccine is approved. But the public session could prove critical to achieving what some in Trump’s orbit have dubbed the “holy grail” — a Covid vaccine by Election Day.

Administration health officials continue to insist that no vaccine or treatment will be approved for use — either through full authorization or an emergency use designation — unless it is safe and effective. “No one is pressuring the FDA to do anything,” Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday.

“This President wants to break through regulatory barriers to get a vaccine as safely to the American people as quickly as possible because lives are at stake, but he will not in any way sacrifice safety in making sure that this is 100% airtight before the American people receive it,” McEnany said.

In reality, government officials and others familiar with the matter describe a more complicated situation, where scientific fact is introduced into a fraught political season and where the President likens any effort to slow down or deny approval for his preferred remedies to a personal attack.

The result has created enormous pressure on the agency that will ultimately determine when a vaccine is approved for use. 

Source : CNN


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