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FDA Head, Lankford Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Development On Senator's Podcast

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Sen. James Lankford
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Still image from Okla. Republican Sen. James Lankford's conversation with FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

Appearing as a guest on Sen. James Lankford's (R-OK) podcast, The Breakdown with James Lankford, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the agency is working as swiftly as it can to approve one or more of the many COVID-19 vaccines in development by various pharmaceutical companies, but that they will not be bowed by political pressure.

"We continue to be clear on the data we need to show effectiveness and safety, and we will not approve a vaccine or authorize a vaccine that we would not want our own family to get," Hahn said on an episode released Friday.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump accused the FDA of pulling a "political move" after a report in the New York Times that the agency would be putting more measures in place to ensure safety and effectiveness of any vaccine, the timeline for which Trump has repeatedly contradicted his own top health officials on.

"Again, I want to emphasize: We will not cut corners," Hahn said.

"And, quite frankly, I don't hear anyone who wants you to," Lankford said. "Everyone that I talk to says, 'I want to take out all the bureaucracy and anything that would cause a typical delay, and to be able to make sure that's all cleared away.' But no one wants to be able to shortcut the science, the testing, the evaluation."

Hahn said there are too many variables to be able to predict a release timetable, but that all of the current "phase three" trials are of vaccines for adults, not children. 

Listen to the full episode of Lankford's podcast here.

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