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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 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe, effective in children, company says — The COVID booster vaccine discussion is far from over — Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of children.
  2. Health: Chicago has highest COVID-19 case rates in city worker neighborhoods — International Mission Board to require COVID vaccine for missionaries.
  3. Politics: Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers — Footage shows new details after NYC restaurant incident over proof of vaccination.
  4. Education: More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines — Most Kentucky school boards vote in favor of mask mandates —Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
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.