Media scrutiny will hinder Covid vaccine development: Trump advisor

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 05, 2020 Published on August 05, 2020

Moncef Slaoui slams media analyses of his stake in pharma firms

The chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, a programme that has been launched by the Trump administration to infuse billions of dollars to accelerate Covid-19 vaccine development, said that the media’s examination of his stocks may digress him from his work, Buzzfeed News reported.

Moncef Slaoui said that the development of the vaccine will be less likely if the media continues to hinder it.

Ranting on the media intervention to Michael Caputo, US Department of Health and Human Services HHS assistant secretary of public affairs, he said, as cited in the Buzzfeed report: “The American people need to understand that the media often times are lying to them because they don’t want a vaccine, in order to defeat Donald Trump.”

Slaoui is volunteering as a contractor drawing a payment of $1. Many media organisations have pointed out that this exempts him from ethical rules that federal employees follow.

“I’m amazed that I’m being attacked on a personal basis in a way that frankly distracts my energy and the energy of all the teams we’re working together with to deliver, and therefore decreases our chances or the speed with which we try to help humanity and the country resolve and address this issue,” he said in his podcast interview with Caputo.

Slaoui further noted that he is convinced the press has only one objective, which is “to distort information in a way that allows them to shape opinion.”

Slaoui added that he also didn’t want to engage in political talk and his only focus is vaccine development.

“I am resentful (of) actions that knowingly or unknowingly curtail that effort. That’s inappropriate, that’s wrong, that’s unethical,” he said.

According to the New York Times report, Slaoui, who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 30 years and still holds some shares in it, can evade ethics disclosures required of federal employees and can still maintain his investments in pharmaceutical companies.

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Published on August 05, 2020
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