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COVID-19 vaccines are approved by the FDA, not Fauci’s wife

May 21, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s wife is the chief of bioethics and human subjects research at the National Institutes of Health. That means she’s the one who rubber stamps exceptions to normal drug and vaccine testing.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not the NIH.

THE FACTS: Throughout the pandemic, social media users have posted false and misleading claims involving Fauci and those around him. This week, posts emerged suggesting that the vaccines received rapid approval because of Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady, at the NIH.

Grady is the chief of bioethics at the NIH Clinical Center, but she played no role in the FDA’s emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccines. Grady and her staff teach medical ethics and research ethical issues related to medicine and clinical research, according to the NIH.

“Dr. Grady does not approve the conduct of any research protocol and she has no input into the FDA process for issuing EUAs,” the NIH said in a statement, referring to emergency use authorizations by their acronym.

In posts with Grady’s photo, social media users suggested that the mainstream media failed to investigate whether Fauci and his wife had a conflict of interest when it came to vaccine approval.

Why is this not an issue when a husband - wife duo can have so much influence on the health policies that relates to all Americans?” one Instagram post said.

The FDA is responsible for reviewing and approving vaccines before they can be administered in the U.S.

Regulations governing emergency use authorization require that the vaccines be tested on thousands of people and go through three phases of clinical trials. Once that process is completed, the information is submitted to the FDA for review and approval. Once the vaccine is cleared for use, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then decide who will receive the vaccine first.

Since 1984, Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the NIH. Fauci and Grady married in 1985. Grady worked on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues from 2010 to 2017 and now serves as the chief of bioethics.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536