7, August 2020
President Donald Trump says that the United States would have a vaccine for the coronavirus before Nov. 3 election, a claim not supported by his own White House health experts.
Speaking on the Geraldo Rivera radio program Thursday, Trump, when asked when a vaccine may be ready, said, “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner.”
“Sooner than November 3?” he was asked.
“I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time,” Trump said.
Later, the president also said at the White House that he was optimistic a vaccine would be ready around that date.
When asked about whether it would help him in the election, Trump said, “It wouldn’t hurt. But I’m doing it, not for the election; I want to save a lot of lives.”
However, on Wednesday, top US government infectious diseases official Dr. Anthony Fauci offered a more conservative view, saying that there is a possibility that one vaccine might work and be safe by year end.
Trump is seeking re-election to a second term as the US economic situation is getting worse due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has sought to reopen schools and pushed for things to get “back to normal” while more than 1,000 die per day on average because of the pandemic.
The disease has so far infected more than 5,032,000 and killed over 162,000 people across the United States.
Health Secretary Alex Azar denied Thursday that the push for a vaccine was political, but did not clarify whether he believed in the possibility of producing a vaccine before Election Day either.
Azar also said he would take a coronavirus vaccine if only authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration. “We’re going to run a transparent process,” he said on MSNBC. “The best thing we can do for vaccine hesitancy is ensure that the data is out there.”
Also on Thursday, the House Democrats introduced a bill that would necessitate a consultation between the FDA and a panel of experts so that a vaccine does not get rammed through too fast.
US Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the bill sponsor, said, “it is even more important that quality is not sacrificed for speed in testing and evaluating any such vaccine.”