U.S. health secretary Azar says he tested negative for COVID-19

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Friday he has tested negative for COVID-19 after protectively being screened following news of President Donald Trump’s positive test.

“Out of an abundance of caution I was tested for COVID-19 this morning and the result was negative. I will be testifying before Congress as scheduled,” Azar wrote on Twitter.

Azar said during a congressional hearing on Friday that he was confident that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was not compromising its approval standards in a push to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I will be confident that my family and I should take the (COVID-19) vaccine … because any vaccine will have met FDA’s standards,” he said at the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, where he was present wearing a mask.

Scientists, public health officials and lawmakers are worried that the Trump administration will pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine in advance of the Nov. 3 presidential election, even if data from clinical trials does not support its widespread use.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Matthew Lewis)

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