President Donald Trump said the U.S. government could start distributing a coronavirus vaccine as early as October just hours after CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told lawmakers at a Senate hearing he expects vaccinations to begin in November or December, but in limited quantities with those most in need getting the first doses, such as health-care workers.
Redfield said it will take about “six to nine months” to get the entire American public vaccinated.
Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing Wednesday that 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. “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.”
Trump said he got the “impression” Redfield “didn’t realize” what he said.
“I didn’t see him say it, but if that’s what he said then it’s a mistake because … we’re ready to distribute immediately to a vast section of our country and then beyond because we want to help other countries also but we’re ready to distribute immediately,” Trump said.
Trump also said he thinks drugmakers are having “tremendous success” with vaccines.
“The results will be early and strong. The safety has to be 100% and we’re going to insist on that and the companies are going to insist on that as well,” he said.
Trump throws the CDC under the bus, says Dr. Redfield "made a mistake" during his testimony on Wednesday when he said a Covid vaccine might not be available until well in 2021 pic.twitter.com/3h4mObDKsf
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020
“We’re very close to that vaccine as you know and I think much closer than I think most people want to say,” Trump said. “We think we can start some time in October. So as soon as it’s announced we’ll be able to start. That will be from mid-October on. It may be a little bit later than that.”
He said the U.S. has manufactured all of the necessary supplies and health officials will be able to distribute at least 100 million vaccine doses by the end of the year. The vaccine could be distributed starting in October or November, but he said “I don’t think it’s going to be too much later than that.”
Trump’s remark come as infectious disease experts and scientists in recent weeks have said they have concerns that the White House may be pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to approve a vaccine before it’s been adequately tested. There are currently no approved vaccines and at least three drugmakers expect to know if their potential vaccines work by the end of the year.