U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, September 18, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. will manufacture enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every American by April.
He said the U.S. will have at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year and “likely much more than that.”
“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 said at a White House press briefing.
Trump’s forecast is at odds with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said earlier this week that the U.S. wouldn’t start vaccinating people until November or December at the earliest and it would be limited. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said a vaccine wouldn’t be widely available until the summer or early fall of next year.
“If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third … late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” he told the U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies on Wednesday.
Trump said Friday that “massive amounts” of the vaccine “will be delivered through our great military and the general is one of our best and he’s ready to go.”
“We are again very advanced on the vaccine, we think that sometime in the very near future we’ll have it,” he said. “We’re… I would say I think I can say years ahead of scheduled what it would be if it were an administration other than this one.”
Trump’s comments came two days after he said the U.S. government could start distributing a coronavirus vaccine as early as October. He said Redfield was mistaken when he said the vaccine wouldn’t be widely available to the general public until next summer or early fall.
“I think he made a mistake when he said that. It’s just incorrect information and I called him and he didn’t tell me that and I think he got the message maybe confused, maybe it was stated incorrectly,” Trump said Wednesday. “We’re ready to go immediately as the vaccine is announced and it could be announced in October, it could be announced a little bit after October but once we go we’re ready.”
There are currently three drugmakers backed by the U.S. in late-stage testing for potential vaccines. Earlier this week, the CDC outlined a sweeping plan to make a vaccine free to all Americans if and when one is approved for public use.
Public health experts have previously said that most Americans likely won’t get immunized with a coronavirus vaccine until the middle of next year.
Earlier this month, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a draft proposal for distributing a vaccine in the U.S. if and when one is approved for public use. The vaccine would be distributed in four phases, with health-care workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions getting vaccinated first. Essential workers, teachers and people in homeless shelters as well as people in prisons would be next on the list, followed by children and young adults.
Whichever vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, it will likely be in short supply once it’s cleared for public distribution, medical experts warn. The vaccine will likely require two doses at varying intervals, and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution sites and acquiring enough needles, syringes and bottles needed for immunizations.
Trump’s comments are likely to add to concerns from infectious disease experts and scientists that the White House is pressuring U.S. regulators to approve a vaccine before it’s been adequately tested.