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Opinion
Max Nisen

Vaccine Politics Demand More From Big Pharma

The Trump administration is sowing doubt in the FDA's approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine, so drugmakers are stepping up. They could go even further to allay concerns.

President Trump says a vaccine is coming soon, but the public needs to trust in the approval process. 

President Trump says a vaccine is coming soon, but the public needs to trust in the approval process. 

Photographer: Tasos Katopodis/Bloomberg

As President Donald Trump repeatedly touts the possibility of a Covid-19 vaccine winning approval by Election Day, the companies he needs to make that happen are pushing back. And that’s a good thing all around.

On Tuesday, nine major coronavirus vaccine developers — including Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca Plc, and Moderna Inc. — signed a joint pledge under which they committed not to submit their inoculations for Food and Drug Administration approval until they demonstrate safety and efficacy in a large, late-stage trial. It's an unusual statement; typically, the FDA is the one defending high standards, while drug manufacturers try to push boundaries. Unprecedented political pressure, combined with public unease over what some fear may be a rushed process, has forced a role reversal.