White House to FDA: Approve Pfizer Vaccine Or Else

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Oh great. This should help make everyone more confident that the Pfizer vaccine isn’t being rushed through due to political pressure:

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine by day’s end, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss what happened.

First of all, this accomplishes nothing. The FDA was apparently planning to finish the authorization by Saturday morning, so this speeds things up by only a few hours or so. Second, everyone knows that Donald Trump is pushing this because he’s convinced that Deep State agents in the FDA and the CDC deliberately slow-walked emergency approval until after the election so he wouldn’t get credit for it. Third, when all is said and done, US authorization will be a grand total of ten days behind Britain’s and ahead of practically everyone else. This is really not overwhelming evidence of slow work from American agencies.

On the other hand, it makes Trump look like a tough guy, even though he obviously waited to do anything until there was really nothing left to do. It’s a completely empty threat, and it comes after months of practically ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic at the federal level.

Is there a price to pay for this? Probably. Public confidence in the vaccine is important, and it’s already been shaken a bit by the report of allergic reactions in Britain. The best way to keep confidence high is to keep politicians out of it and let professionals do their job. The last thing we should do is give people who are already skeptical even more reason to wonder if the vaccine is being forced on them by glory-hound politicos.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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