Pfizer CEO pushes back against Trump claim on vaccine timing

Working at the speed of science, not the speed of politics

Drugmaker Pfizer, which is testing a COVID-19 vaccine, is pushing back against President Trump’s declaration a vaccine will be ready sooner rather than later.

CEO Albert Bourla has told employees they are working at the speed of science, not the speed of politics.

The only pressure thy should feel, and it does weigh heavy he said, is from the billions of people and millions of businesses depending on them.

The president has said repeatedly a vaccine will be ready before next month’s election.

Pfizer has said that by late October it expects to have data from its ongoing late-stage test that could show whether the vaccine is safe and effective. In a letter to employees, he wrote the company hopes to have “a hundred million doses delivered by the end of the year.”

Still, those doses could not be distributed until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews Pfizer’s data and decides whether to issue what’s called an emergency use authorization. That authorization would allow the distribution of the vaccine on a limited basis, with initial shots expected to go to medical and other frontline workers, nursing homes, and people most at risk of catching or becoming seriously ill from the virus.

That’s if the vaccine works.

“I can’t predict exactly when, or even if our vaccine will be approved by the FDA for distribution to the public. But I do know that the world will be safer if we stop talking about the vaccines’ delivery in political terms,” he wrote.

People “don’t know whom or what to believe.”