Head of U.S. vaccine program predicts the FDA panel WILL grant emergency approval to COVID-19 vaccine when it meets Thursday as Health secretary says he is ‘worried’ people won’t act safely at Christmas
- Moncef Slaoui heads President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed
- He praised the ‘safety profile’ of vaccines seeking emergency approval
- An FDA panel meets this week on approval that would send it out the door immediately
- HHS Secretary Azar said officials are ‘worried about people and the behaviors coming up with Christmas’
The head of the administration’s ‘operation warp speed’ on Sunday vouched for new vaccines coming online and predicted a government panel would grant emergency approval when it meets Thursday.
Moncef Slaoui said vaccines could start going to elements of the U.S. population by the end of the week.
‘I expect them to recommend approval based on the data I’m aware of and I saw the vaccine is highly effective, the vaccine is safe,’ he told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday.
‘I expect them to recommend approval based on the data I’m aware of and I saw the vaccine is highly effective, the vaccine is safe,’ Moncef Slaoui told CNN Sunday
‘It’s safety profile is compared to many other vaccines that have been in use for years indicates. The manufacturing of these vaccines is very well done. The quality of manufacturing is excellent. I frankly expect them to approve it very quickly,’ he said.
A new vaccine by Pfizer was first in line for emergency approval, with another vaccine by Moderna also seeking emergency approval.
Then he touched on the difficult issues of who should get it first, after the FDA decided medical professionals and nursing home residents should be first in line.
He raised the matter of those who took part in vaccine trials.
‘I think there are some very important ethical questions that the advisory committee is going to have to discuss such as, for instance, should we be immunizing those people who generously participated in a clinical trials and were in the placebo group?’ said Slaoui. ‘I believe they should be immunized but that is an important question that they will have to address. Overall, I really hope they do it quickly and that the vaccine will be available to our population starting later this week.’
An FDA panel meets on emergency approval for what would be the first vaccine distributed to Americans Thursday
In this file photo a lab technician sorts blood samples for Covid-19 vaccination study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida on August 13, 2020
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he was ‘quite concerned’ about the accelerating pace of COVID-19 infections, after a spike around Thanksgiving.
‘We’re worried about people and the behaviors coming up with Christmas. We want to make sure everyone’s loved ones are there next Christmas, especially when we have so much hope of vaccine,’ he told ABC’s ‘This Week.’
‘We have complete visibility into our hospital capacity. We’re making sure they’ve got supplies and staffing regulatory flexibilities that keep the highest acuity patients in the hospital let others be serviced at home,’ he said, with more than 14 millions.
He urged Americans to ‘wear your face-coverings’ and spoke before a ‘wear a mask’ background – hours after President Trump held an outdoor rally in Georgia where thousands gathered and many did not wear masks.
Azar also hit back at President-elect Joe Biden, who said there was ‘no detailed plan’ for how to get the vaccine from a container into a syringe and then into ‘somebody’s arm.’
‘With all respect, that’s just nonsense,’ Azar said.
Coronavirus task force head Dr. Deborah Birx told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Americans must mask up when indoors to contain the spread.
‘If you’re with anyone indoors without a mask, that’s a viral spreading opportunity … You cannot gather without masks in any indoor or close outdoor situation,’ she said.
‘I want to be very frank to the American people. The vaccine is critical, but it’s not going to save us from this current surge. Only we can save us from this current surge. And we know precisely what to do. So, if you have loved ones that you want to protect you have to follow these guidelines now,’ she said.