An erratic series of tweets from the outgoing president comes as FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn confirmed that the agency would “work quickly” to finalize the emergency approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which could receive the first injections in the US in a few days.
“While my soggy but heavily bureaucratic money pushing (FDA) saved five years in approving NUMEROUS new vaccines, it’s still a big, old, slow turtle. Get the vaccines out of the prey NOW, Dr. Hahn. Stop playing around. games and start saving lives !!! “Trump wrote on Twitter this morning.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump exclaimed, “I just want to stop the world from killing itself!”
A government advisory panel yesterday endorsed the widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, putting the US just one step away from launching an epic vaccination campaign against the outbreak that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.
The injections could begin in a few days, depending on how quickly the FDA approves, as expected, the expert committee’s recommendation.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that “in the next few days, probably,” as they work to negotiate with Pfizer and get the information doctors need to properly prescribe it, “we should be looking at the authorization of this first vaccine. . “
Azar said they will work with Pfizer to ship it and “so we can see people get vaccinated on Monday, Tuesday next week.”
“So it’s very close. It’s really just the last point of I and T junction,” added Azar.
Once a vaccine is licensed, Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s initiative to develop a vaccine, can begin shipping and distributing the vaccine to the states. But vaccines won’t start until after a committee from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine, and the CDC accepts that recommendation.
That advisory committee will meet on Friday and is expected to vote Sunday on the vaccine recommendation.
While the green light for a COVID-19 vaccine will provide a light at the end of the tunnel, leading experts have warned that the worst days of the pandemic are yet to come for the United States. More waves of cases are likely to form as a result of Thanksgiving trips and gatherings that could further increase the number of infections. The United States now has an average of more than 210,000 new cases a day.
The United States on Thursday set another record for the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals on any given day, more than 107,200, according to the COVID Tracking Project. A CNN analysis of data recently released by the US Department of Health and Human Services showed that at least 200 hospitals in the US were at full capacity last week. And more than 90 percent of ICU beds were occupied in a third of all hospitals.
And deaths are skyrocketing, too: Wednesday saw the highest number of COVID-19 deaths the US has ever reported in a day, at 3,124. More than 2,700 deaths were reported Thursday.
“We are in the time frame now that probably over the next 60 to 90 days, we are going to have more deaths per day than we had on 9/11,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. “This is going to be a really regrettable loss of life, like everything we’ve had so far, and the reality is that the approval of the vaccine this week is not going to have a real impact.”