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Despite Urgency And Pressure, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn Says 'Corners Cannot Be Cut' In Authorizing COVID-19 Vaccine

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The United Kingdom has become the first Western nation to greenlight a Covid-19 vaccine.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, the country granted an emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in the process of reviewing the same vaccine and a similar authorization could come as early as late next week.

However, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said before the vaccine rolls out in the U.S., his agency will come to its own conclusion on whether it's safe.

"We look at the data ourselves and we number crunch the data ourselves, so we'll drawl own conclusions from the data." Hahn said told CBS 11 News Wednesday.

Hahn said the FDA is looking at three major components in a vaccine – safety, effectiveness and quality in the manufacturing.

Next Thursday, December 10, a panel of independent experts will advise the FDA on the Pfizer vaccine.

If all goes well, shortly thereafter the FDA could authorized the vaccine for emergency use with the first shipments of vaccine delivered by mid-December.

Frontline hospital and long-term care workers would be the first to get the vaccine with availability for general public likely by late spring.

Hahn said he acknowledges the pressure to move quickly but stressed he will not allow that to change the FDA's authorization process or standards.

"These are tried and true standards. We know these meet the gold standard around the world for the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines," he said.

On Tuesday, Hahn was called to the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Hahn would not comment on what was said during the meeting but told CBS 11 News it was a "robust conversation" and that he was happy to be able to tell the President how passionate he is about how the FDA cannot cut any corners with this vaccine.



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