Trump: COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed as early as October

Trump: We’re very close to that vaccine as you know and I think much closer than I think most people want to say.

Elad Benari ,

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the US government could start distributing a coronavirus vaccine as early as October.

“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 during a White House press briefing, according to NBC News.

“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 added.

Trump said the US 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 remarks 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.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined a sweeping plan to make vaccines for COVID-19 free to all Americans. In the plan, the CDC said it anticipates a coronavirus vaccine will initially be granted an emergency use authorization before a full formal approval.

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.

He added that it will take about “six to nine months” to get the entire American public vaccinated.

Trump said on 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.”

Last week, BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin said that Pfizer and BioNTech are confident they can have a vaccine against coronavirus ready for regulatory approval by the middle of October or early November.

In July, the US Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense announced a $1.95 billion agreement with Pfizer to produce 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The deal also allows the US government to acquire an additional 500 million doses.

The Trump administration several weeks ago urged US states to get ready to distribute a potential COVID-19 vaccine by November 1.