Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Wednesday that he did not learn about Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine until the company announced the results of its clinical trials on Monday morning, a day after President-elect Joe Biden says that his advisers learned the same information.
“I as secretary of health and human services learned about this from media reports on Monday morning,” Azar said in an interview on WMAL, a radio station in Washington, D.C.
“That’s not a good sign,” said WMAL host Vince Coglianese.
“If the Biden campaign found out Sunday night but you…didn’t find out until Monday, that sounds like there’s a problem there,” Coglianese continued.
“There certainly was a gap in communication, let’s say,” Azar replied.
Pfizer announced on Monday that its vaccine was effective in more than 90% of patients who took part in its clinical trials. The announcement was widely hailed as a potential breakthrough in the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused nearly 250,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.
Biden said in a statement on Monday that his advisers were informed of the findings on Sunday.
The timing of Pfizer’s announcement has generated speculation that the company waited until after the election to announce the results of its clinical trials. Some Republicans have suggested that a positive announcement before the election would have helped President Donald Trump’s election prospects.
The timing of this is pretty amazing. Nothing nefarious about the timing of this at all right? ???? https://t.co/nS5rkywKXT
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 9, 2020
Trump implemented Operation Warp Speed with the aim of quickly developing a vaccine to treat the virus.
A Pfizer executive caused some confusion on Monday by falsely stating that the company was not part of Operation Warp Speed. Pfizer announced in July that it had entered a $2 billion agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to distribute its vaccine as part of Warp Speed.
Pfizer acknowledged later on Monday that it had taken part in Operation Warp Speed.
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