The makers of the two most advanced coronavirus vaccines have reportedly turned down an invitation from the White House to a “vaccine summit” to be held on Tuesday.
Pfizer and Moderna will not be at the event, the health and science website New statistics reported, with Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, and Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, both declining to attend.
Their absence will certainly be noted and comes after Mr Trump accused the two of working to prevent his re-election.
The site reported that the event appeared to be an effort by the Trump administration to claim credit for the rapid development of a Covid-19 vaccine and to pressure the FDA to proceed quickly with clearance.
The FDA will meet on Thursday to decide whether or not to approve the vaccine.
While Moderna accepted federal funds to help with vaccine research and development, Pfizer did not.
Mr Bourla, CEO of the New York-based pharmaceutical giant, said he was determined to ensure his staff and scientists had absolute political independence and that he believed that accepting money from a government would compromise that.
In October, he said, in an internal memo obtained by Politico, that he found the political debates around the coronavirus worrying.
“Once again, I was disappointed that the prevention of a deadly disease was being discussed in political terms rather than scientific terms,” he wrote.
The results of his team’s work on a vaccination were announced days after the election, leading Donald Trump Jr and Fox News host Laura Ingraham to speculate the timing was on purpose in order to avoid give the president an electoral boost.
Mr Bourla insisted that his scientists were not guided by political concerns.
“For us, polling day has always been an artificial date,” he said.
“We weren’t working with the election as a calendar. We were working – I posted a letter, if you remember, to our employees some time ago, saying that the only pressure we feel is the pressure from the billions of people who are hoping for our vaccine.
“And we’re going to go with the speed of science to get science to talk, and I predicted that would happen at the end of October, it happened a week later.”
“I think the most important thing right now for everyone is to feel the joy that it has happened and that it has gone so well. 90 percent. ”
Pfizer and Moderna have yet to respond The independentrequest for comment from.