Report: Alex Azar Floats Ousting FDA Head Over Strict COVID Vax Safety Standards
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar reportedly is plotting to oust FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn over his insistence that the eventual coronavirus vaccine meet strict safety standards and has already floated potential replacements.
Azar has vented to allies within the Health and Human Services Department about his unhappiness with the top official in charge of the vaccine process, and discussed the prospect of seeking White House permission to remove him, a half-dozen current and former administration officials said.
The discussions come amid deep frustration with Hahn over his insistence that a Covid-19 vaccine meet strict safety standards — a contentious decision that rendered it impossible for President Donald Trump to fulfill his oft-expressed desire for a vaccine just before Election Day.
The outlet reported that five former and current officials said it is unlikely that the White House will greenlight Hahn’s removal “over concerns about the optics of removing an FDA commissioner soon after his agency ruled out a pre-election vaccine.’
However, the FDA head is seen as unlikely to return if President Trump wins a second term.