President Donald Trump said at the White House Friday that the administration anticipates having enough coronavirus vaccine for the entire country by April – even though no companies have yet announced that they have one that has withstood clinical trials.
Trump’s comment comes after saying earlier this week that there may be a vaccine available ‘a matter of weeks.’
On Friday, he used a different metric: when there would be enough vaccine on a mass scale to provide to the nation.
‘Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April,’ the president said at the White House.
‘Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April,’ President Donald Trump said at a news conference Friday
‘In a short time we’ll have a safe and effective vaccine and we’ll defeat the virus,’ he said.
Critics have accused Trump of seeking to politicize the virus, with repeated claims that one might be available before the election.
‘They’re all looking very good,’ Trump said of three top variants undergoing testing.
Trump said the vaccine would not only save millions of lives, it will ‘put an end to the restrictions and some of hte things that go on and have to go on in the meantime.’
Trump advisor Dr. Scott Atlas also touted progress and said there would be 100 million doses by the end of the year
Trump said millions of doses of vaccine would be available by April
On Friday, Trump used the vaccine as a club to attack rival Democrat Joe Biden.
He accused Biden of being ‘anti-vaccine,’ although Biden has said he wants to listen to government scientists and would take one if infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci gives the okay.
‘Joe Biden’s anti vaccine theories are putting a lot of lives at risk,’ he said.
‘And they’re only doing it for political reasons. It’s part of their war to try and discredit the vaccine now that they know we essentially have it, we’ll be announcing it fairly soon,’ Trump said of Democrats.
He called it ‘historic progress’ and said ‘there’s never been anything like this ever in our history, there’s never been in history, in world history.’
Biden said at a CNN town hall on Thursday: ‘I don’t trust the President on vaccines. I trust Dr. Fauci. If Fauci says a vaccine is safe, I would take the vaccine. We should listen to the scientists, not to the President.’
Dr. Scott Atlas, who has been advising Trump, joined him at the event and said there would be 100 million doses by the end of the year.
Other coronavirus task force members, like Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield of CDC, were not present.
Trump’s claims came a day after he and his administration sparred Redfield, the CDC Director, over when a vaccine might be widely available.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows portrayed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head as out of the loop on the heels of Redfield saying coronavirus vaccines wouldn’t be readily available until mid-2021.
‘I’m not saying he’s not part of the process, I’m saying he’s not closest to the decision making as it relates to the clinical 3 trials and the distribution thereof,’ Meadows told reporters outside the White House Thursday.
Meadows was echoing comments made by Trump at Wednesday’s press briefing, as the president pushed back on the two sound bites that came out of Redfield’s testimony earlier in the day before a Senate committee.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters Thursday morning that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head, Dr. Robert Redfield, was ‘not closest to the decision making’ when it came to the timeline of COVID-19 vaccine distribution
President Donald Trump contradicted his own CDC chief at Wednesday’s press briefing, calling Dr. Robert Redfield ‘confused’ and ‘mistaken’ for saying vaccines wouldn’t be widely available until halfway through 2021 and masks work better than vaccines
Dr. Robert Redfield testified Wednesday morning before a Senate committee and said a ‘ face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.’ He also said a COVID-19 vaccine wouldn’t be widely available until quarter two or three of 2021
Trump said the CDC head was ‘confused’ and ‘made a mistake’ when he told lawmakers most Americans wouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine until the ‘second or third quarter’ of 2021 – meaning a full year from now.
The president also said that Redfield must have ‘misunderstood’ a question on masks.
Redfield held up his mask during testimony and said, ‘I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.’
‘No, the mask is not more important than the vaccine,’ Trump said, telling reporters he called Redfield earlier Wednesday to set him straight.
Meadows agreed with Trump on that too.
‘If masks truly were the answer where everybody can go back to work, and that they actually worked as the best protocol for keeping people safe, I think everyone would be more than happy to wear their masks and return to work,’ Meadows told the press. ‘I don’t think the science backs that up. I think it’s extra precaution and it’s good, but it doesn’t necessarily make sure that you’re, you’re not going to come down with COVID.’
The comments the president made at the briefing pushed a Redfield spokesperson to release a statement saying the CDC head was ‘answering a question he thought was in regard to the time period in which all Americans would have completed their COVID vaccination.’
‘He was not referring to the time period when COVID-19 vaccine doses would be made available to all Americans,’ the spokesperson said.
Redfield was also quoted talking up a coronavirus vaccine in the briefing’s aftermath.
‘I 100 per cent believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a COVID-19 vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life,’ Redfield said.
‘The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds,’ he added.
Meadows suggested that Redfield wasn’t fully clued in on the vaccine process because trials were being done by private companies.
The White House chief of staff also slightly disparaged the agency.
‘Generally speaking, speed of development and speed of distribution is not the strong suit for the CDC, and we saw that going back to the early days of the testing regimen that aws put forth,’ Meadows said.
Meadows then doubled down on the president’s abbreviated timeline.
‘I can tell you the president is pushing very hard to make sure that we’re deliverying a vaccine before the end of the year,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure where Dr. Redfield got his particular timetable, but it’s not based on those that are closest to the process.’