Washington, Dec 12 (AFP/APP): The US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday defended itself from allegations of political pressure over the timing of its Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine approval and provided new information on the risks to people with allergies.
The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the two-dose regimen late on Friday night following reports President Donald Trump had threatened to fire the head of the agency if he didn’t act that day.
Commissioner Stephen Hahn denied this had occurred, telling reporters: “The representations in the press that I was threatened to be fired if we didn’t get it done by a certain date is inaccurate.” He added that the decision, which had been expected a few days later, was “based on the strongest scientific integrity.” The agency also released new information for health care providers and for patients as the US shipped millions of doses of the vaccine across the country.
The United States has the highest pandemic death toll of any in the world, with fatalities now approaching 300,000 and nearly 16 million cases of infection. Over the past two weeks the US has exceeded 2,000 Covid-related deaths per day several times, rivalling tolls it saw in the early days of the pandemic. Following reports in Britain that two people who received the shot had a severe allergic reaction, it was expected that the FDA would rule that anyone with a history of severe allergies should avoid the vaccine.
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