Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 23, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Declaring 'Tremendous Trust' in Big Pharma, Trump Threatens to Block Stricter Covid Vaccine Standards

"Trump and his political appointees have inappropriately pressured, intimidated, and overruled career public health officials too many times already, but the stakes are far too high for that to happen again with this upcoming FDA guidance."

Jake Johnson

With the Food and Drug Administration reportedly planning to propose stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine, President Donald Trump late Wednesday threatened to block the agency's push for tougher standards because he trusts for-profit pharmaceutical corporations to conduct adequate safety testing.

"Trump's White House must not block or water down this guidance and must allow scientists and public health officials, not Trump's political interests, to guide this vaccine approval process."
—Eli Zupnick, Accountable Pharma

"I have tremendous trust in these massive companies that are so brilliantly organized in terms of what they've been doing with the tests. I don't know that a government as big as we are could do tests like this," Trump said during a press briefing, minimizing the central role the federal government has played in coordinating and providing much of the funding for vaccine trials.

Asked specifically about the FDA's push for stricter vaccine guidelines, the president declared that any revisions to existing standards "have to be approved by the White House." The FDA declined to comment when a CNN reporter asked about the president's remarks.

"We may or may not approve it," Trump said. "That sounds like a political move, because when you have Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, these great companies coming up with the vaccines and they've done testing and everything else, I'm saying why would they have to be, you know, adding great length to the process?"

Watch:

Trump's decision to publicly undercut the FDA came amid growing concerns among experts and lawmakers that the president is putting public safety at risk by pushing for the speedy approval of a coronavirus vaccine in an effort to boost his reelection chances.

"Everybody wants a vaccine, but we want to make sure that that vaccine is safe," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said earlier this month. "We don't want to see that vaccine put on the market for political reasons."

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the new guidance the FDA is expected to propose as early as this week "would lay out more specific criteria for clinical trial data and recommend that the data be vetted by a committee of independent experts before the FDA authorizes any vaccine. The guidelines would be the most detailed description yet by the federal government about how the vaccine vetting process will proceed."

In a statement Wednesday, Eli Zupnick, spokesperson for watchdog group Accountable Pharma, warned Trump against meddling with the FDA's vaccine guidelines, saying the stricter standards would be "an important step in restoring the public trust that Trump has undermined."

"Trump and his political appointees have inappropriately pressured, intimidated, and overruled career public health officials too many times already, but the stakes are far too high for that to happen again with this upcoming FDA guidance," said Zupnick. "Trump's White House must not block or water down this guidance and must allow scientists and public health officials, not Trump's political interests, to guide this vaccine approval process."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Cannot Happen': Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians.

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Vaccine Goals 'Fall Terribly Short' Due to Big Pharma and Rich Nations' Greed: Experts

"Wealthy nations are using up the world's vaccine supply, and developing nations are suffering and losing thousands of people every day."

Brett Wilkins ·


11 Senators Support House Progressives' Push to Pass Full Biden Agenda

"We voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ex-Prisoners Recall US Torture at 'Afghanistan's Abu Ghraib'

"It is psychologically hard for me to recall all that was happening," said one former Bagram Air Base inmate. "The torture was mostly done by Afghans, sometimes the Americans. But the orders came from the U.S."

Brett Wilkins ·


Rapid Shift to Electric Vehicles Could Create Over 150,000 Jobs in US by 2030

A new report says "smart" pro-labor policies by lawmakers would transform the "inevitable" shift to EVs "into a new beginning for U.S. producers and the rebuilding of a foundation for good jobs."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo