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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."

Go deeper

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Sanders to delay defense veto override unless Senate votes on $2,000 payments

Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) plans to filibuster the Senate’s veto override of the bipartisan defense bill unless the chamber holds a vote on the $2,000 stimulus payments included in the COVID relief bill, Politico reported Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's unlikely Sanders will stop the vote on the veto override, delaying it until New Year's Day could create new hurdles for the Republican Party.

Dec 29, 2020 - World

Spain to keep registry of people who refuse coronavirus vaccine

Josefa Perez, 89, on Sunday becomes the first woman to be vaccinated in Spain's Catalonia region, at the Feixa Llarga residence in Barcelona. Photo: Pau Venteo/Europa Press via Getty Images

Spain is creating a registry of people who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination and will share this with other European Union member states, the country's Health Minister Salvador Illa told broadcaster La Sexta Monday.

The big picture: Spain become on Monday the fourth European nation to surpass 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus, after the United Kingdom, Italy and France, per Johns Hopkins. It's confirmed nearly 1.9 million cases. Illa said vaccinations are free and not mandatory. Data on those who refuse inoculation won't be publicly disclosed "and it will be done with the utmost respect for data protection," he added.

Flashback: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases