DONALD Trump has reportedly summoned the head of the FDA to pressure him to authorise a coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.
It comes after Dr Anthony Fauci said Americans could be able to walk into a pharmacy and get a coronavirus vaccine by April.
Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was seen arriving at the White House this morning for a meeting with chief of staff Mark Meadows, ABC News reported.
The FDA is currently in the process of assessing multiple candidate vaccines for emergency use and distribution.
US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have each sought approval for their vaccines from regulators in both the US and the European Union.
Both vaccines have been found in trials to be more than 90 percent effective.
It is not clear whether President Trump personally participated in today's meeting, but he has publicly expressed concern that president-elect Joe Biden will get credit for the vaccines if they are rolled out after he takes office.
"They will try and say that Biden came up with the vaccines," he told Fox News on Sunday.
Also speaking to Fox News, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about possible tensions between the White House and the FDA.
She said the FDA was working "round the clock", but added: "This president will never apologize for putting the fire under these agencies to say, 'Yes, we want a safe vaccine, absolutely. We also want a fast one because lives are at stake'.”
PANDEMIC 'NOT OVER YET'
It comes after top White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said he hoped to see the distribution of a vaccine to the highest-priority people begin this month.
Speaking during an interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he said the jabs would then be rolled out to the next priority tiers throughout January, February, and March.
"By the time we get to April, we would likely have taken care of all the high priority," he said.
"And then the general population — the normal, healthy young man or woman, 30 years old that has no underlying conditions — can walk into a [pharmacy] and get vaccinated."
He added that the federal government was currently contracted with multiple companies to secure around 600million vaccine doses.
That's enough for around 300million people, only just less than the entire US population.
"Hence, everyone that you would imagine that would want to get vaccinated in the country would have a vaccine," Fauci said.
"What you really want is what we have – a highly efficacious vaccine – but you also want 75 to 85 percent of the people to get vaccinated."
He added that the pandemic had not yet passed, and urged Americans to minimise their travel as much as possible over the festive season.
He also said people should avoid indoor gatherings with others from outside their immediate family unit.
"That seems to be, unfortunately, the antithesis of the Christmas, the New Year, the Hanukkah season, because you really want to bring friends around the fireplace, people sitting down together," he said.
"Unfortunately, that's the perfect setup for people who may have no symptoms, and innocently and inadvertently come into the home and infect someone."
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