Both Pfizer and Moderna, the two major drug manufacturers likely to receive emergency authorizations for a Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, have rejected invitations from President Trump to appear at a White House “Vaccine Summit” on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the event’s planning.
The Trump administration has openly feuded with Pfizer in recent weeks over its involvement in Operation Warp Speed and the timing of a data release showing its vaccine to be highly effective, but had nonetheless invited CEO Albert Bourla to appear on a panel about the vaccine development process. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was also invited, but neither he nor another company executive will attend.
The vaccine manufacturers’ absences will be conspicuous at a “Vaccine Summit,” an event that drug industry figures and one Trump administration official largely viewed as a public relations stunt when STAT first reported the event last week.
The event appeared to be an effort for the administration to claim credit for the rapid development of a Covid-19 vaccine and to pressure the Food and Drug Administration to move quickly on an authorization. The agency’s commissioner, Stephen Hahn, was twice called to the White House to explain the FDA’s slower-than-desired timetable for issuing emergency use authorizations for Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, Axios and Bloomberg reported.
The White House scheduled the vaccine summit just two days before a FDA advisory committee is set to publicly examine data submitted by Pfizer. A similar hearing for Moderna’s vaccine is set for Dec. 17, one week later. Both vaccines are highly effective, according to data released by the companies, and are widely expected to receive emergency approvals soon after the FDA formally considers their applications.
Following this story’s publication, a spokesman disputed the circumstances of Moderna’s withdrawal from the event, saying the company “was contacted by OWS to be part of a meeting at the White House concerning COVID-19 vaccine plans and indicated its willingness to participate. Subsequently, Moderna learned that, based on the meeting’s agenda, its participation would not be required.”
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Source: Stat News