The Trump administration blocked new Food and Drug Administration guidelines that would almost certainly keep any coronavirus vaccine candidate from receiving market approval before the Nov. 3 general election.
The matter centers around the FDA’s planned instruction that vaccine developers follow patients enrolled in COVID-19 trials for at least two months to weed out safety issues before applying for emergency approval from the agency, The New York Times reported Monday.
A senior White House official confirmed the action to The Times, saying there was “no clinical or medical reason” for the additional requirement.
President Donald Trump has consistently insisted a vaccine could be approved by Election Day even though government scientists refute that claim, The Associated Press reported.
Last week, seven former FDA chiefs criticized the administration for “undermining the credibility” of the agency and warned that public fears of a rushed vaccine for political reasons could derail efforts to inoculate millions of Americans, AP reported.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. has roughly 7.5 million coronavirus cases and 210,000 related deaths, both tops globally, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.