Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-disease expert, on Thursday walked back his earlier comments criticizing British regulators over their recent approval the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

What he's saying: "I have a great deal of confidence in what the U.K. does both scientifically and from a regulator standpoint," Dr Fauci told the BBC on Thursday after saying earlier in the day that U.K. regulators "rushed" their approval of the vaccine.

  • He apologized for the "misunderstanding" his remarks created.
  • "In the United States, there is such a considerable amount of tension of pushing back on the credibility, on the safety and on the efficacy that if we in the United States had done it as quickly as the U.K. did — and that’s no judgement on the way the U.K. did it — ...there likely would have been pushback on an already scrutinizing society that, really I think, in some respects in the United States, has too much skepticism about the process.”
  • The NIAID director, who had described the FDA approval process as the "gold standard," also said the U.S. does "things a little differently."
  • "That's all," Fauci added. "Not better, not worse, just differently."
  • "Our process is one that takes more time than it takes in the U.K. And that's just the reality."
  • "I did not mean to imply any sloppiness even though it came out that way."

The big picture: The U.K. on Wednesday became the first Western country to grant emergency approval for the vaccine, which was shown to be more than 90% effective.

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Thursday defended its methods saying in a statement that it, "rigorously assessed the data in the shortest time possible without compromising the thoroughness of our review," per Reuters.

  • It added that it allowed “some stages of this process to happen in parallel to condense the time needed, but it does not mean steps and the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been bypassed."

🎧 Go deeper: Axios Re:Cap interviews Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Fauci's apology and comments to the BBC.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Florida police arrest data scientist who challenged state on COVID-19 dashboard

Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard displayed on a computer screen. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rebekah Jones, a former Florida health department data scientist who says she was wrongly fired last year, has been charged with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Driving the news: Jones turned herself in Sunday night after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Authorities raided her home last month, causing outcry online after she tweeted a video of the incident.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.