Health and Science

Trump reportedly considers fast tracking AstraZeneca vaccine before election

Key Points
  • The Trump administration is considering fast tracking an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed in the U.K. for use in the United States, according to a Financial Times report.
  • The availability of a vaccine before the U.S. presidential election could allow President Donald Trump to justify his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has faced widespread criticism. 
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 10, 2020.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering fast tracking an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed in the U.K. for use in the United States ahead of the nation's upcoming presidential election, according to a Financial Times report, which cited three people briefed on the plan. 

One option, according to the FT report, would involve the U.S. Food and Drug Administration awarding "emergency use authorization" for the vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca told the FT that it hasn't discussed an emergency use authorization for its potential vaccine with the U.S. government. A spokesperson for Health and Human Services, which includes the FDA, told FT that any claim of an emergency authorization for a vaccine before the election is "absolutely false." 

The latest revelation comes amid reports that Trump on Sunday will announce the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma for Covid-19

On Saturday, President Donald Trump made a baseless accusation that the FDA was standing in the way of drug companies' efforts to test potential coronavirus vaccines and treatments for political reasons.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fired back saying on Twitter and called on the FDA to not succumb to political pressure from the White House. 

She added that Trump's "dangerous attempt to inject himself into the scientific decisions of @US_FDA jeopardizes the health & well-being of all Americans."

The White House, FDA and Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. 

The availability of a vaccine before the U.S. presidential election could allow Trump to justify his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has faced widespread criticism. 

During his convention speech on Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden bashed Trump's response to the public health crisis, calling it the "worst performance of any nation on Earth."  

The coronavirus has infected more than 5.6 million people in the U.S. as of Saturday, roughly a quarter of the globe's reported cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. On Friday, the U.S. recorded at least 1,100 deaths, bringing the nation's death toll above 175,000. 

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