Washington, December 12
US President-elect Joe Biden has urged Americans to have confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine developed by first-rate scientists without political influence, after it was allowed for emergency use in the country, worst-hit by the pandemic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday issued emergency use authorisation (EAU) to the vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, paving the way for its use in the country.
“I want to make it clear to the public you should have confidence in this. There is no political influence,” Biden said amid the reports of White House pressure on FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn.
“These are first-rate scientists taking their time and looking at all of the elements that need to be looked at. Scientific integrity led us to this point. We know the payments challenges and hard work ahead,” Biden, a Democrat, told reporters at Wilmington in Delaware on Friday.
“You know, as tough as things are now, I firmly believe better days are ahead. We got some good news yesterday. The FDA committee I should say recommended emergency use authorisation for Pfizer’s BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, but we are grateful for the scientists at these — not only there, but of their great organisations, researchers who developed this vaccine and several others on the way and we are just as grateful to the scientists and the public experts who evaluated its safety and efficiency free from political influence,” he said.
On Friday, President Donald Trump sent out an angry tweet calling the FDA a “big, old, slow turtle”, adding: “Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr Hahn. Stop playing games and start saving lives.”
Trump has not yet conceded defeat to Biden in the November 3 US presidential election.
The Washington Post said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had ordered Hahn to approve the vaccine on Friday or submit his resignation, citing sources.
Biden said earlier this week, he had announced that his COVID response team would scale up the manufacturing, distribution, and injection of the vaccine.
“We set a bold and doable challenge in my first 100 days, 100 million shots in 100 days, asking the American people to wear a mask for the first 100 days of our administration. If we get the necessary funding from Congress, we can get most of our schools opened in 100 days, but we need the help from the Congress and the funding,” he said.
“The first 100 days won’t end COVID-19 but meeting those goals can slow the spread, save lives and get us back to our lives with the people we love the most; and we will also be getting the right people confirmed during this period of time and in place to manage this robust aggressive plan to contain the virus, help us build back better than ever and make sure everyone is included,” said the president-elect.
This week marked another tragic milestone in our fight against COVID-19, more than 3,000 deaths in one single day, the highest single death count during this pandemic, Biden, who is set to be inaugurated as the 46th US President on January 20, said.
That’s more deaths in a single day than the US saw on 9/11 or at Pearl Harbour.
“This is serious business, and the current director of these Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday we can expect similar numbers of deaths or more every single day for the next 60 to 90 days,” he added.
“We are in the teeth of a crisis right now, and this nation needs presidential leadership right now, presidential leadership that is willing to model the steps we should be taking for our — to save our own lives and the lives of our families. You know we can wish this away, but we have to face it head-on. We have to take it head-on using every power available to me as president. We will have a national coordinated strategy that will–that will beat this virus,” Biden said.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said they had brought together a healthcare team that would help contain this pandemic once and for all, an economic team that would help build an economy that works for working people and all those looking to work and a national security and foreign policy team that would help keep the nation safe and restore and advance American leadership around the world.
According to the Johns Hopkins data, the US has recorded 15,834,965 COVID-19 cases and 294,874 deaths. PTI