June 22, 2024

Pfizer, Moderna turn down invitation to WH for ‘Vaccine Summit’

Pfizer and Moderna, the two leading drug manufacturers expected to receive emergency authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines in mere weeks, have turned down invitations to the White House for a “vaccine summit.”

The event, which is scheduled for today, is expected to feature remarks from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and several governors and private-sector executives, according to an invitation obtained by STAT News.

Albert Bourla (left), chief executive officer of Pfizer, and Stephane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, are shown. The two pharmaceutical companies reportedly turned down invitations to the White House for a “vaccine summit.” (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Executives from the two major drug manufacturers will be noticeably absent.

According to reporting, Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla was invited to appear on a panel about the vaccine development process. He will not attend. Neither will Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel.

In a statement, Moderna said it “was contacted by OWS (Operation Warp Speed) to be part of a meeting at the White House concerning COVID-19 vaccine plans and indicated its willingness to participate. Subsequently, Moderna learned that, based on the meeting’s agenda, its participation would not be required.”

Read More: US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data

The gathering has largely been seen as a publicity stunt to help President Trump receive credit for coronavirus vaccine development.

In a statement, White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern said the president “looks forward to convening leaders from the federal government, state governments, private sector, military and scientific community for a comprehensive discussion with the American people as the administration prepares to deliver this historic, life-saving vaccine to every zip code in the United States within 24 hours of an FDA approval.”

Read More: UK gives 1st COVID-19 vaccine doses as virus cases surge

Trump had previously accused Pfizer of deliberately delaying the announcement of the efficacy of its vaccine until after the Nov. 3 presidential election to harm his reelection prospects.

In an interview with Fox News, Trump claimed credit for the vaccines, saying, “I came up with vaccines that people didn’t think we’d have for five years.”

Read More: Armed agents raid Florida home of fired COVID-19 data scientist

Representatives from drug distributors, pharmacies and logistics companies including McKesson, Walgreens, CVS, UPS and FedEx are expected to attend the White House event.

The widespread distribution of coronavirus vaccines across America will likely take place under the leadership of health officials in the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

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