The Trump administration has asked federal agencies to pause regulation development efforts, to give it time to see which ones it likes, which ones it wants to change, and which ones it hates.
The executive order freezing the regulatory process lets Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, make exceptions for emergency situations.
This seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for the administration to do. But I noticed today, while looking for articles to write about in the Federal Register, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has had to withdraw a regulatory announcement related to the Zika virus.
A version of the document still available via Google shows that it’s a document that provides liability immunity for parties involved in efforts to develop a vaccine against Zika.
The document would block liability claims involving allegations of Zika-vaccine-related negligence, unless the manufacturer was guilty of willful misconduct.
Of course: Some people question whether the Zika virus really causes neurological problems in unborn children and adults, and some question the safety of many vaccination efforts.
If officials in the Trump administration question whether Zika is a serious public health threat or whether protecting Zika vaccine makers against liability lawsuits is a good idea: Then, of course, it’s right for them to go slow on approving such protection.