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Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

  • Hahn's testimony follows a slew of recent reporting that suggests deep politicization of the Trump administration's response to the pandemic.
  • The FDA has reportedly been working to toughen the requirements for an emergency use authorization for a vaccine, which would make it almost impossible for a vaccine to be ready by Election Day.

What he's saying: "Decisions to authorize or approve any such vaccine or therapeutic will be made by the dedicated career staff at FDA through our thorough review processes and science will guide our decisions," Hahn said.

  • "FDA will not permit any pressure from anyone to change that. I will fight for science, Mr. Chairman. I will fight for the integrity of the agency, and I will put the interests of the American people before anything else."
  • "In the end, FDA will not authorize or approve a vaccine that we would not feel comfortable giving to our families."

Go deeper

Dec 31, 2020 - Health

U.S. set to end 2020 with just over 3 million vaccine doses administered

A healthcare worker hands Patrick Range, Sr., 88, a vaccination card after giving him the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Dec. 30. Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Americans received just over 3 million initial doses of coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in the 19 days following first shipments, according to a Bloomberg tally of government websites and CDC data.

Why it matters: It's far below Operation Warp Speed's goal of administering 20 million doses by the end of the year, raising concerns about how long it may be until enough people are vaccinated in the U.S. for life to return to normal.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Dec 31, 2020 - Health

China approves state-owned Sinopharm vaccine

Sinopharm vaccine. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Health regulators in China said Thursday they have approved the country's first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, for general use, AP reports.

Why it matters: Like the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Sinopharm's shot is said to be cheaper and easier to store than Pfizer or Moderna's vaccines.