Donald Trump Says Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Ready By Election Day
“I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time,” Trump said when pressed on the possibility of a vaccine by Election Day.
The president’s comment comes just days after Vice President Mike Pence said that a vaccine could be ready before the end of the year. Notably, Moderna has moved into phase 3 of clinical trials for its preparation, mRNA-1273, which has thus far shown promise across two small-scale clinical trials. Conversely, Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration’s leading infectious disease expert, has been more skeptical and said a vaccine would not likely be available until the end of 2020 or start of 2021.
According to Trump, the fast-tracked vaccine creation effort, Operation Warp Speed, is harnessing some of the “greatest companies in the world” working in parallel to the rest of the world.
“Look, I just want to save lives,” Trump said, noting the standard two-year development timeline for vaccinations.
“I’m pushing it very hard … but I’m not doing it for votes. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”
The president was previously pressed on whether he believed a vaccine by November would be beneficial to his re-election prospects.
“It wouldn’t hurt. But I’m doing it not for the election. I want it fast because I want to save a lot of lives.”
Trump claimed to be “optimistic” that a preventative preparation for coronavirus would be available by November.
According to CNBC, Trump’s comment will likely fuel concerns that the president’s administration is applying undue pressure on regulators to approve a vaccine before it’s been properly tested for mass distribution.
Per Business Insider, Trump’s aides were previously reported to believe that the president does not have a chance of winning a second term without a vaccination available. Notably, in an interview with The Atlantic, longtime Republican strategist Charlie Black claimed that the U.S. leader would likely announce a vaccine in October.
Health officials have said that the U.S. will not be able to return to a semblance of “normal” without a vaccination available for COVID-19. World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently said that multiple candidates had entered phase 3 of their clinical trials. However, he warned that such progress was not a guarantee that any foolproof preventative would ever be available.