FACT CHECK: Will The FDA Not Authorize Or Approve Any COVID-19 Vaccine?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not authorize or approve any vaccine for COVID-19.

Verdict: False

Three COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use to date.

Fact Check:

The April 30 Facebook post features an image of Stephen Hahn, who served as the FDA commissioner from December 2019 to January 2021, speaking. Text in the photo reads, “FDA will not authorize or approve any COVID-19 vaccine.”

The FDA, however, has already authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use: Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use on Dec. 11, according to an agency news release. Hahn said the authorization was given “following an open and transparent review process,” per the release. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines received emergency use authorization from the FDA on Dec. 18 and Feb. 27 respectively, according to the agency’s website.

A search of the FDA’s press announcements and social media posts turned up no mention of the agency saying it will not approve or authorize any COVID-19 vaccine. Nor have any media outlets reported on such a thing. (RELATED: Image Claims To Show A CDC Infographic Saying “Refusing To Take The Vaccine Is A Form Of Racism’)

The claim may stem from a misunderstanding of a comment Hahn made at a Sept. 23 Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing. He had been speaking about the process the FDA would use to review COVID-19 vaccines.

Hahn stated during the hearing, “FDA will not authorize or approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it has met the agency’s rigorous expectations for safety and effectiveness,” footage of the hearing published by C-SPAN shows. He also pledged that the FDA would “not authorize or approve a vaccine that we would not feel comfortable giving to our families.”

Some social media users have been sharing only the first part of Hahn’s statement, leaving out key context, and causing some to erroneously believe Hahn genuinely stated the FDA will not authorize or approve COVID-19 vaccines.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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