FDA Commissioner Won’t Confirm Donald Trump’s Claims On COVID-19 Vaccines, Safety

In an interview Sunday morning, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephan Hahn spoke about what can be expected going forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, what people should be doing to protect themselves and others, and what the FDA is working on to get the nation through this crisis. However, when asked about Trump’s specific claims regarding the virus, he would not support the president’s assertions that 99% of cases are harmless, or that a vaccine will be ready quite soon.

Dr. Stephen Hahn does't suppor Trump claims
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Dr. Hahn, an oncologist who is serving as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and before that was Chief Medical Executive of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, spoke about some of the treatments that are available to lessen the impact of the virus. However, when Martha Raddatz pressed him on two of Trump’s specific claims, he was unable to support either of them.

Asked repeatedly about the claim that 99% of cases are harmless, Hahn refused to directly address this, instead saying that every case is tragic.

Well, what I’d say is, you know, any case, we don’t want to have in this country. This is a very rapidly moving epidemic. A rapidly moving pandemic. And any death, any case, is tragic. And we want to do everything we can to prevent that.

He also did not directly deny Trump’s claim that a vaccine would be available “long before the end of the year,” instead denying that any timeline is available at all.

I can’t predict — I can’t predict when a vaccine will be available.

Hahn has directly contradicted Trump before. As Texas Monthly reported, in April, directly after Trump said that the FDA had approved two drugs “very, very quickly” for fighting the pandemic, Dr. Hahn took the mic and said that those drugs had not been approved by the FDA, adding, “What’s also important is not to provide false hope.”

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