Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna scientists, step aside. President Donald Trump says he is the one to credit for the COVID-19 vaccines.
“You wouldn’t have a vaccine if it weren’t for me for another four years,” Trump said at his Friday news conference regarding prescription drugs.
Pfizer and BioNTech applied for Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization Friday after third-stage trials showed their vaccine to be 95% effective. Earlier in the week, Moderna revealed 94.5% efficacy in its early-stage vaccine trials.
At the press conference, Trump announced a plan to lower prices of some prescription drugs. The move was tied to Trump feeling he was denied vaccine credit before the election, Pacific Research Institute President and CEO Sally Pipes wrote for Fox News.
“Pfizer and others even decided to not assess the results of their vaccine, in other words not come out with a vaccine, until just after the election,” Trump said Friday. “That’s because of what I did with favored nations and these other elements – instead of their original plan to assess the data in October. So they waited and waited and waited, and they thought they’d come out with it a few days after the election.”
Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla denied the claim.
“Accusing drug companies of delaying a vaccine to protect us from a disease that has killed more than 254,00 Americans and infected more than 11.9 million is an extraordinarily serious charge, and it denigrates the work of everyone involved in development of experimental coronavirus vaccines that we all hope will become available in December,” Pipes wrote. “In addition, believing the president’s claim requires us to believe that drug companies acted in concert before the Nov. 3 election in response to action he didn’t announce until Friday – 17 days later. In fact, drug companies have moved at record speed to develop coronavirus vaccines.”
Trump did not deliver the vaccines, but he fostered their urgent development with funding and emphasis.