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As pressure mounts to develop a successful Covid-19 vaccine, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn insisted any agency approval would “adhere to standards” that ensure safety and effectiveness. But Hahn left the door open to a so-called emergency use authorization, raising concerns the FDA might still face political pressure to approve a vaccine before the November elections.

His remarks appeared late Wednesday in an op-ed in The Washington Post just as nearly 400 health experts and scientists released an open letter that was sent to Hahn and urged a “transparent and rigorous FDA approval process that is devoid of political considerations.” The letter was organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.


Both the op-ed and the letter quickly drew attention, given stinging criticism of the Trump administration for issuing an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug that was often touted by President Trump as a possible Covid-19 treatment. At the time, though, there was no evidence the drug could be useful and subsequent studies debunked the notion.

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