White House threatens to fire FDA chief unless Pfizer Covid vaccine approved Friday, reports say


Stephen Hahn, nominee to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the head of the Food and Drug Administration to submit his resignation if the agency doesn’t clear Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use by day’s end, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The warning led FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and the agency to accelerate its timetable for clearing America’s first Covid-19 vaccine from Saturday morning to later Friday, according to the Post, which cited anonymous sources.

“This is an untrue representation of the phone call with the Chief of Staff,” Hahn told NBC News on Friday afternoon. “The FDA was encouraged to continue working expeditiously on Pfizer-BioNTech’s EUA request. FDA is committed to issuing this authorization quickly, as we noted in our statement this morning.”

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

— CNBC’s Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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