FACT CHECK: Is Anthony Fauci’s Wife Involved In Approving COVID-19 Vaccines?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Christine Grady, the wife of White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci, is involved in the approval of COVID-19 vaccines.

Verdict: False

Grady, who works for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is not involved with the approval process of COVID-19 vaccines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handles the approval of vaccines, not the NIH.

Fact Check:

The FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use among people ages 16 and older Aug. 23. Following the vaccine’s approval, Facebook posts have surfaced claiming Grady, who works for the NIH, is involved in the process of approving such vaccines.

“Everyone knows who this is, right? This is Christine Grady. She is the head of NIH, and anybody who knows about NIH knows NIH are the people who approve which jabs the FDA are gonna approve for vaccination on humans, right?” the person in the video alleges. The person goes on to claim, “So Dr. Fauci’s wife is the person who approves vaccinations for the FDA.”

The video’s claims, however, don’t hold up under scrutiny. For starters, Grady is not the head of the NIH, but rather the chief of Bioethics at the NIH Clinical Center. Dr. Francis Collins has served as the director of the NIH since 2009, according to his biography on the agency’s website. (RELATED: Will The FDA Not Authorize Or Approve Any COVID-19 Vaccine?)

The NIH is not the agency that grants emergency use authorization or approval for vaccines. Rather, the FDA is the one that has the regulatory authority to do so, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The FDA has “oversight of the safety, effectiveness and quality of vaccines that are used in the United States,” the agency says on its own website.

Vaccines go through an approval process that includes, among other steps, conducting clinical trials, submitting a Biologics License Application to the FDA and presenting findings to the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, according to the CDC website. The FDA monitors the safety and effectiveness of vaccines after they have received FDA approval as well, the FDA’s website states.

“Dr. Grady does not approve the conduct of any research protocol and she has no input into the FDA process for issuing EUAs,” NIH Clinical Center spokesperson Maria Maslennikov told Check Your Fact via email. “The authority to issue emergency use authorizations (EUA) and approvals lies with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not the NIH.”

The NIH’s Department of Bioethics “conducts conceptual, empirical, and policy-related research into bioethical issues,” “offers comprehensive training to future bioethicists and educational programs for biomedical researchers and clinical providers” and “provides high quality ethics consultation services to clinicians, patients, and families of the NIH’s Clinical Center and advice to the NIH IRBs, investigators, and others on the ethical conduct of research,” according to its website.

Elle Magazine reported in June 2020 that Grady was researching ethics issues related to COVID-19 pandemic, such as “COVID-19 vaccines, resource allocation, and the safety of healthcare workers.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].