It seems the executives leading COVID-19 vaccine development know better than to attend a big gathering right about now.
On Tuesday, the White House will be hosting a “vaccine summit” apparently meant to bring vaccine developers, scientists, and government leaders together ahead of distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. But drug industry leaders have decided the event is more of a “public relations stunt,” and some big names aren’t even planning to attend, Stat News reports.
Pfizer and Moderna are currently at the top of the COVID-19 vaccine world, having produced vaccine candidates that are more than 90 percent effective at stopping transmission of the disease. But despite the fact that both of the companies’ CEOs had been invited to the vaccine summit, neither plans to attend, two sources tell Stat. The summit comes just days before the Food and Drug Administration is set to examine Pfizer’s vaccine data, and a week before it will look at Moderna’s. Both reviews will likely result in emergency use authorizations for the two vaccines.
Many other companies involved in the vaccine distribution process — FedEx, UPS, Walgreens, and CVS among them — are expected to send representatives to the event. But they “are likely to send lower-ranking executives as opposed to their CEOs,” sources familiar with the event’s planning tell Stat. And despite an apparent conflict of interest, Peter Marks, the FDA official who heads vaccine approvals, may end up attending the summit, Stat reports. Kathryn Krawczyk