The comments come as the president has been saying a vaccine could come within weeks.
He said the U.S. will have at least 100 million doses before the end of the year, but “likely much more than that.” He said distribution would begin within 24 hours of approval.
“Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April and again I’ll say even at that later stage, the delivery will go as fast as it comes,” Trump told reporters.
When asked on the timeline for vaccine production between now and April, Trump turned the podium over to Stanford radiologist Scott Atlas. Atlas confirmed that hundreds of millions of doses would be ready by the end of the year. He said first responders and those at risk would be able to get vaccinated before 2021. He said by April, the vaccine would be available for “every single American who wants to be vaccinated.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would bet on a coronavirus vaccine by November or December.
‘‘I would still put my money on November/December,” he said, during a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute panel on global pandemics.
Earlier this week, Trump announced a vaccine distribution plan and predicted availability as early as October, directly contradicting a much longer timeline offered earlier in the day by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director.
Dr. Robert Redfield told a panel of Senate lawmakers not to expect a coronavirus vaccine to become widely available to most of the U.S. population until the summer of 2021.
Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier Wednesday, Redfield said any version of the vaccine available this year would be in “very limited supply.” He estimated that the shot wouldn’t be broadly available to most of the U.S. population until the summer of 2021.
“I think he made a mistake when he said that. It’s just incorrect information,” Trump said Wednesday in response to a question from Fox News’ John Roberts. “I believe he was confused.”
Trump at the Friday conference said the vaccine would be approved years ahead of what it would have taken any other administration. He compared it to his administration’s work defeating ISIS. “Interestingly, as I was saying, it will go very well just like what we did with our military, with respect to ISIS, did very well. Long ahead of schedule.”
He said the vaccine is currently going through the “gold standard” of clinical trials and, once approved, the vaccine “will be delivered through our great military, and the general is one of our best and he’s ready to go.”
Three drugmakers currently have vaccine candidates in late-stage trials. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) laid out a plan to make the vaccine free for all Americans once approved.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden promised an effective distribution plan for the vaccine should he win the White House and said he’d ensure the safety of a vaccine developed on Trump’s watch.
“I trust vaccines. I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And at this moment, the American people can’t, either.”
Trump tore into Biden for sowing doubt about the effectiveness of a vaccine that could save lives.
“I’m calling on Biden to stop promoting his anti-vaccine theories,” Trump said. “They’re recklessly endangering lives, you can’t do that.”
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.