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FDA Chief Stephen Hahn Says 20 Million Americans Likely to be Vaccinated This Year

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn speaks as US President Donald Trump looks on during a press conference at the White House

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn speaks as US President Donald Trump looks on during a press conference at the White House

Hahn declined to give a specific timeline of how long approval of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech would take, saying only that the regulator would move "very quickly" after an advisory committee meets on Dec. 10.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn told Reuters on Friday it was realistic to expect that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of this year.

Hahn declined to give a specific timeline of how long approval of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech would take, saying only that the regulator would move "very quickly" after an advisory committee meets on Dec. 10.

Hahn also said he had a "robust discussion" at a White House meeting with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to discuss the timing of a vaccine.

Many federal officials are expecting a vaccine approval within days of the Dec. 10 meeting, though one FDA official recently said an approval decision could take weeks.

A speedy vaccine approval could be a political win for the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump, which has been pushing for effective treatments to help restore a sense of normality to daily life and a hard-hit U.S. economy.

Its Operation Warp Speed program has struck deals with several drugmakers in an effort to help speed up the search for effective treatments to fight the global pandemic.

Britain leapt ahead of the United States this week in approving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, intensifying scrutiny on U.S. regulators as they consider whether to grant emergency use in the country that leads the world in coronavirus infections.

first published:December 04, 2020, 19:12 IST