White House to FDA: Approve Pfizer Vaccine Or Else

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Oh great. This should help make everyone more confident that the Pfizer vaccine isn’t being rushed through due to political pressure:

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened.

First of all, this accomplishes nothing. The FDA was apparently planning to finish the authorization by Saturday morning, so this speeds things up by only a few hours or so. Second, everyone knows that Donald Trump is pushing this because he’s convinced that Deep State agents in the FDA and the CDC deliberately slow-walked emergency approval until after the election so he wouldn’t get credit for it. Third, when all is said and done, US authorization will be a grand total of ten days behind Britain’s and ahead of practically everyone else. This is really not overwhelming evidence of slow work from American agencies.

On the other hand, it makes Trump look like a tough guy, even though he obviously waited to do anything until there was really nothing left to do. It’s a completely empty threat, and it comes after months of practically ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic at the federal level.

Is there a price to pay for this? Probably. Public confidence in the vaccine is important, and it’s already been shaken a bit by the report of allergic reactions in Britain. The best way to keep confidence high is to keep politicians out of it and let professionals do their job. The last thing we should do is give people who are already skeptical even more reason to wonder if the vaccine is being forced on them by glory-hound politicos.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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