Trump to meet COVID-19 vaccine makers, gov’t officials next weekn

United States President Donald Trump listens during a briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic response at the White House in Washington, DC [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

The administration of United States President Donald Trump has invited vaccine manufacturers, drug distributors and government officials to a COVID-19 Vaccine Summit next week at the White House, Stat News reported on Tuesday, citing an invitation obtained by the news organisation.

It is scheduled for December 8 and will be attended by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and private-sector executives, the report said.

The meeting would take place days ahead of reviews of vaccine candidates from Moderna Inc and Pfizer-BioNTech SE Inc by two separate panels of outside experts to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Industry officials familiar with the plans for the summit interpreted it as an opportunity for the White House to pressure the FDA to quickly issue emergency use authorisations for the two vaccine candidates, the Stat report said.

Invitees include Pfizer, Moderna and drug distributors, pharmacies, and logistics companies including McKesson, Walgreens, CVS Health, United Parcel Service, and FedEx, the report said, citing three health industry people familiar with the event.

Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the US in December [Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuter]

The companies did not immediately comment on the report.

The Stat report also described the event as a way for Trump to take credit for the quick speed at which multiple vaccines were developed.

The Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has drawn ire and some pointed to it as a contributing factor to the president’s loss in the US election.

December 8 is also the “safe harbor” date, the deadline by which states must certify election results.

The “safe harbor” date comes six days before the Electoral College meets to cast votes to elect the next US president.

Biden has been projected the winner by the Associated Press with 306 electoral votes, far more than the 270 needed for victory.

Trump, who has 232 electoral votes, has not yet conceded the election and has continued to challenge the outcome.

The US has confirmed more than 13,605,000 COVID-19 cases and 269,192 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.



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