President Donald Trump said Friday that every American will have access to a coronavirus vaccine by April, the latest in a series of ever more optimistic predictions about a vaccination program that has yet to secure FDA approval.
When Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said earlier in the week that the general public was unlikely to get access to a vaccine until the second and third quarters of 2021, echoing other scientific leaders in the administration, Trump said he’d misspoken.
“I think he made a mistake with that statement,” Trump said Wednesday. “When he said it, I believe he was confused. I’m just telling you we’re ready to go.”
“As soon as a vaccine is approved the administration will deliver it to the American people immediately,” Trump said at a White House news briefing on Friday. “Distribution will begin with 24 hours after notice.”
The federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program for developing a vaccine earlier this week made the same promise. But Trump went further.
“We’ll have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year, and likely much more than that,” he said. “Millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April.”
Distribution is likely to be complicated and time consuming as well, experts have told CNN.
But Trump’s newest adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Scott Atlas, echoed the April promise at the news briefing.
“By April every single American who wants to be vaccinated will have the ability to be vaccinated,” Atlas said.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, noted that there currently isn’t a vaccine known to be effective and safe.
“And we probably won’t have that information until end of the year at earliest,” he said. “At that point how quickly the vaccine can be rolled out depends on which one works, and these have different degrees of storage complexity.”
“Anybody who believes anything he says about vaccines is an idiot,” said former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, who briefly challenged Trump for the GOP presidential nomination.