New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said the speedy process by which coronavirus vaccine trials are being rolled out are being driven both by President Donald Trump’s ego and the profit motivation of the drug companies manufacturing the vaccines.
The Democrat made the comments during an interview on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning radio show. His appearance came as Moderna Inc. and competitor Pfizer Inc. recently announced preliminary results showing their vaccines appear more than 90% effective, at least for short-term protection against COVID-19.
President Donald Trump on Monday praised Moderna as one of two recent “great discoveries.”
“Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95% effective,” Trump tweeted. “For those great ‘historians’, please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!”
Host Ebro Darden told Gov. Cuomo he had spoken with people, including “people who claim to be nurses,” who said they “do not trust this vaccine” and feel that it has been rushed.
Cuomo said the vaccine was moving ahead so quickly because of “money and ego,” noting that the first drug company to get the vaccine will profit handsomely.
“You didn’t need Trump to tell the vaccine companies you should develop a vaccine. He had nothing to do with it,” Cuomo said. Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, they all know this is billions of dollars, whoever gets to the market first. So, it’s in their economic interest to push this fast,” Cuomo said.
He surmised that the president wants to be able to say before leaving the White House that he “solved COVID because” he supposedly “discovered a vaccine.”
“Nah, it’s all BS. He didn’t do anything. It’s the drug companies and nobody is going to trust him saying it’s a safe vaccine. But you’re going to see this play out, they’ll do what’s called an emergency authorization by the FDA,” he said.
Cuomo then predicted that the emergency authorization could happen as soon as January, because “Trump will push them.”
“(The president) will say we authorized the drug for emergency use, and you could see it starting in January before Biden gets into office and that’s why I’m pushing so hard to make sure that we have a process in place to check what the FDA says before people start getting a vaccine in New York,” Cuomo said.
Fox News has reached out to both Pfizer and Moderna with a request to respond to the governor’s accusations.
Michael Bars, a White House spokesman, said that Cuomo does not have “much of an understanding (of) the unprecedented public-private partnership poised to deliver a life-saving vaccine in record time.”
“President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed continues to expedite the regulatory process while providing billions of dollars to a portfolio of companies in the process of delivering a safe and effective vaccine five times faster than other in history,” Bars said in a statement provided to Fox News.
“The recent announcements by Pfizer and Moderna regarding their incredibly promising and impressive efficacy data further demonstrate that the Warp Speed Program is rapidly advancing on a trajectory of success to the benefit of millions of at-risk Americans,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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