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‘A terrible disservice’: Trump slams FDA, CDC call for ‘pause’ on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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Shortly following the joint recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday to “pause the use” of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, former President Donald Trump slammed the decision, accusing the FDA of favoritism toward Pfizer and its vaccine.

Tuesday morning, the two federal agencies issued a statement “recommending a pause in the use of this [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine out of an abundance of caution” as they review data “involving 6 reported U.S. cases of a rare & severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine.” They note, importantly, that “these adverse events appear to be extremely rare” right now. Furthermore, they stated that over 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered throughout the U.S., as of Monday.

On Tuesday too, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying that it has decided to “proactively delay the rollout” of its vaccine in Europe.

Later that morning, Trump issued a scathing statement opposing the move and going after his successor’s administration.

“The Biden administration did a terrible disservice to people throughout the world by allowing the FDA and CDC to call a ‘pause’ in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine,” the 45th U.S. president began.

“The results of this vaccine have been extraordinary but now it’s [sic] reputation will be permanently challenged,” he added, predicting that the “people who have already taken the vaccine will be up in arms”.

Trump then started to accuse the FDA of preferential treatment toward the vaccine of Pfizer, one of Johnson & Johnson’s main competitors with the U.S., with the other being Moderna. Unlike its two main competitors’ vaccines, which require two doses for full inoculation, the Johnson & Johnson one only requires one dose, which carries its own pros and cons.

“[P]erhaps all of this was done for politics or perhaps it’s the FDA’s love for Pfizer,” Trump posited. “The FDA, especially with long time bureaucrats within, has to be controlled. They should not be able to do such damage for possibly political reasons, or maybe because their friends at Pfizer have suggested it. They’ll do things like this to make themselves look important.”

“Remember, it was the FDA working with Pfizer, who announced the vaccine approval two days after the 2020 Presidential Election,” the former president added. It should be noted that, according to The Hill, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has said that the vaccine’s viability was announced as soon as possible.

“They didn’t like me very much because I pushed them extremely hard,” he said before arguing again that there would be no vaccine if he had not been in the Oval Office. “But if I didn’t, you wouldn’t have a vaccine for 3-5 years, or maybe not at all. It takes them years to act!”

“Do your testing, clean up the record, and get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine back online quickly.”

In response from the FDA and CDC’s move, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, issued a statement Tuesday saying that the agencies’ recommendation “will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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