In a statement released on Monday, US biotech company Moderna said it would seek American and European emergency approval for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, after stage-three trials showed it to be 94.1 percent effective against the deadly coronavirus.
President Donald Trump called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to "ACT QUICKLY!” in approving the jab, and called his administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ vaccine development program a “great modern day miracle.”
That Trump would both seek speedy approval and claim credit for Moderna’s breakthrough is no surprise. In a Thanksgiving address to US troops on Thursday, the president promised that vaccine delivery would “literally… start next week and the week after,” adding that the military would aid in doling out doses to seniors, healthcare workers and other frontline staff first.
Trump’s boast of a “modern day miracle” also comes after US drugmaker Pfizer delayed its announcement of an effective vaccine until five days after this month’s election. Though Pfizer insisted that it could only declare the shot effective on the eve of its announcement, Trump accused the company, along with the FDA, of deliberately withholding the information to hamper his re-election bid.
Trump then switched tack and bragged of Operation Warp Speed’s role in aiding Pfizer’s vaccine development, before the company clarified that it had not actually taken any government money to fund its research.
Moderna, however, took $1.5 billion to develop and produce 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate, giving Trump ample opportunity to claim credit.
Though Joe Biden, who already proclaimed himself the next head of the US, has repeatedly accused Trump of bungling his response to the coronavirus, the president has remained typically cocky. “If you had a different administration with different people, what we’ve done would have taken, in my opinion, three, four, five years,” he told reporters earlier this month.
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