Trump Signs Executive Order To Ensure Covid-19 Vaccine Goes To Americans Before Anyone Else
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at prioritising the shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine to Americans before other nations.
White House officials described the order as a 'reaffirmation of the President's commitment to America first.'
During a speech, Trump said: "My Administration has initiated the single greatest mobilisation in US history - pioneering, developing, and manufacturing therapies and vaccines in record time.
"They say it's somewhat of a miracle, and I think that's true," Trump said. "This is one of the greatest miracles in the history of modern-day medicine."
The White House established 'Operation Warp Speed' to get the vaccine ready as quickly as possible.
Under the plan however, it means none of the vaccines that have been manufactured and approved in the US can go abroad until Americans are vaccinated.
The signing of the executive order took place during a vaccine summit at the White House and administration officials confirmed that representatives for Pfizer and Moderna will not attend, despite being the companies behind the coronavirus vaccines seeking emergency use authorisation by the Food and Drug Administration.
White House officials said representatives for the companies won't be there 'because the administration felt it was more important for regulators to attend and explain the authorisation process to the American people. '
Pfizer board member @ScottGottliebMD on the report US declined to purchase additional doses: "$PFE did offer an additional allotment coming out of that plan ... multiple times and as recently as after the interim data came out and we knew this vaccine looked to be effective." pic.twitter.com/VFC4evF8Ay
- Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 8, 2020
The order comes following The New York Times reported reporting on Monday that Pfizer had offered to sell the US government additional doses of the vaccine, but the administration had turned it down.
Scott Gottlieb, a current Pfizer board member and former FDA commissioner, confirmed this on Tuesday.
"Pfizer did offer an additional allotment coming out of that plan, basically the second-quarter allotment, to the US government multiple times - and as recently as after the interim data came out and we knew this vaccine looked to be effective," Gottlieb told CNBC.
"I think they were betting that more than one vaccine is going to get authorised and there will be more vaccines on the market, and that perhaps could be why they didn't take up that additional 100m option agreement."
Meanwhile, Trump administration officials denied they had turned down an opportunity to buy more doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with one official saying they were 'in the middle of a negotiation right now' and can't speak publicly about the Pfizer talks.
They added that they were 'absolutely confident' that there would be a 'sufficient number of doses to vaccinate all Americans who desire one before the end of the second quarter of 2021,' the official said.