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FDA Sets Up Vaccine Safeguards to Counter Pressure From Trump

Guidelines for emergency approval designed to insulate reviewers from influence

Food And Drug Administration headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland.
Food And Drug Administration headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland.Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
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An unsubstantiated claim two weeks ago by President Donald Trump — that the “deep state” was slowing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine — has set off an effort by government officials and private industry to ensure the White House doesn’t interfere with a methodical, careful scientific process.

Food and Drug Administration leaders are insulating the agency’s vaccine reviewers from outside political pressure by sticking by June guidelines that set the standard for what it will take for a vaccine to pass through the agency, said one official familiar with the planning, who asked for anonymity discussing private deliberations.