White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to authorize the Pfizer COVID vaccine by the ending of the day on Friday or be prepared to hand in his letter of resignation, according to the Washington Post.
The threat reportedly led the FDA to speed up its timetable to clear the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use, moving it up from Saturday morning to later on Friday, sources told the WaPo.
The threat came on the same day that Donald Trump tweeted that the FDA is “a big, old, slow turtle” in its handling of vaccines, while exhorting Commissioner Hahn to “get the dam vaccines out NOW.” He added: “Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!”
NBC News reports that Hahn says of the report: “Is an untrue representation of the phone call with the Chief of Staff. The FDA was encouraged to continue working expeditiously on Pfizer-BioNTech’s EUA request. The FDA is committed to issuing this authorisation quickly, as we noted in our statement this morning.”