COVID-19: New Reports of Political Pressure, Intimidation Underscore Need to Bolster Public Confidence in Vaccine Approval Process
NYT: White House “pressured the [CDC]…to play down the risk of sending children back to school,” political appointees pushed “alternate data”
NEW POLL: “Americans won’t take Trump’s word on vaccine”
Scientists and experts call on White House to end pressure and intimidation, not cut corners on emergency vaccine approval
Accountable.US called on Congress to move quickly to restore COVID-19 vaccine confidence
Washington, DC – Today, Accountable.US released the following statement responding to the latest report of Trump Administration political appointees pressuring career science and public health experts, this time pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to present “alternate facts” that aligned with the Trump Administration’s desire to open schools up quickly, regardless of what public health officials said about the risk.
“President Trump and his Administration bungled the COVID-19 response and lost the confidence of the American people by continually putting politics and wishful thinking ahead of science and public health, and with every new story that comes out about political appointees pressuring career officials, this confidence is undermined even further,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma.
“We all want a safe and effective vaccine to be approved as quickly as possible and for people to trust it enough to pull us out of this crisis, and the best way for that to happen is for Congress to mandate transparency and independent review of any emergency authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine.”
On Friday, Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig sent a letter to congressional leadership calling for Congress to move quickly to help restore the trust that President Trump has undermined in the government’s COVID vaccine development process. Specifically, Herrig called for Congress to prevent President Trump from blocking or weakening the new proposed guidance from the Food and Drug Administration following recent comments from President Trump suggesting that he was considering doing so. And he called on them to quickly pass the Science and Transparency Over Politics (STOP) Act to increase transparency and independent oversight into any emergency vaccine approval.
The Washington Post recently reported that “public health experts are increasingly worried that President Trump’s repeated predictions of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 3, coupled with the administration’s interference in federal science agencies, may prompt Americans to reject any vaccine as rushed and potentially tainted.”
- September 21: President Trump once again claimed that a vaccine will be approved “within a matter of weeks” and that it will be available to the public “long before the end of the year, maybe…maybe by the end of October,” contradicting his top public health officials.
- September 16: President Trump publicly scolded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield following his testimony to Congress that mask use was critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that a vaccine would likely not be available to the American public until “late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
- August 30: WaPo: “Inside Trump’s pressure campaign on federal scientists over a covid-19 treatment”
- August 25: NPR: “FDA’s Hahn Apologizes For Overselling Plasma’s Benefits As A COVID-19 Treatment”
- August 24: “Trump’s FDA Intimidation Campaign Pays Off With Politically-Convenient Announcement; Further Undermines Trust in Vaccine, Treatment Approval Process”
- August 22: Trump dials up the pressure with another tweet “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
- August 19: Trump insinuates that FDA is trying to hurt him politically through delay: “It could be a political decision because you have a lot of people over there who don’t want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3”
- August 18: “Trump Dials Up Pressure for Pre-Election Vaccine, Wonders if “Deep State” Will Delay Vaccine Announcement Until November 4th”
- August 17: “Trump Pushes Another COVID-19 “Miracle Cure” Hawked By His MyPillow Buddy, Housing Secretary; Watchdog Urges FDA to Stand Up to Pressure”
- August 6: “Watchdog Group to FDA: Patients Need More Than Words On Vaccine Safety Assurance; Supports Health Expert Calls for Additional Transparency”
- July 15: “NEW REPORT – Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers”
- June 25: “New Vaccine Report Highlights Trump Administration’s Drug Company Connections, Need for Vaccine Program Transparency”
- June 24: “As Dr. Fauci Expresses Hope for Vaccine By End of Year, Patients Need Assurances That Trump Pressure Won’t Corrupt Development Process”
- June 8: “Watchdog Calls for Independent Patient Advocate to Audit ‘Operation Warp Speed’”
- May 26: “Lack of Transparency, Conflicts of Interest Surround Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” Vaccine Development Program”