Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure

The career scientists involved in the approval process will not be swayed by politics, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Why it matters: Gottlieb's comments come amid fears that the Trump administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine.

What he's saying: "I don't see it, and I don't see a scenario where this can happen ... where it's not readily apparent," Gottlieb said when asked if Trump could override the FDA and green-light a vaccine. "This isn't like posting new guidelines on CDC's website in the middle of the night."

  • "In order to issue an emergency use authorization or an approval — the only people capable of actually drafting that package are the people at FDA, and they're not going to be forced to do it unless they scientifically believe in it."
  • "I know the folks who are involved in this process, the career professionals who are engaged in this process, and they're not going to be easily cowed."

The big picture: Coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said a vaccine will likely be available to the general population at the end of the second quarter in 2021 "in an optimistic scenario."

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