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Trump says he may not OK stricter FDA standards for vaccine approval

Fauci answers questions on COVID vaccine
Dr. Anthony Fauci answers questions about coronavirus vaccine 02:53

Washington — President Trump on Wednesday suggested he may not approve more stringent standards for issuing an emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"We're looking at that and that has to be approved by the White House," Mr. Trump told reporters during a press briefing at the White House. "We may or may not approve it."

The Washington Post reported this week the FDA is issuing new, more rigorous guidance for an emergency use authorization of a coronavirus vaccine, which would make it more difficult for a vaccine to be ready by Election Day.

The president has repeatedly suggested a vaccine would arrive before November 3, though top public health officials have thrown cold water on Mr. Trump's speedy timeline, warning a coronavirus vaccine likely will not be ready for distribution to the general population until well into 2021.

Mr. Trump told reporters the tightened standards from the FDA "sounds like a political move," and cited the pharmaceutical companies — Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna — that are developing coronavirus vaccines and have begun final-stage testing.

The president said delaying a vaccine by "two or three weeks" would cost lives.

The FDA declined to comment.

Through its initiative Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration has prioritized swift development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, setting a goal of delivering hundreds of millions of doses by January 2021. Four vaccine candidates are in the final stage of testing in the U.S. 

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