WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK) – President Trump is giving a live briefing on the coronavirus and other matters from the White House.
The briefing comes as he and challenger former Vice President Joe Biden joust over a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
At a town hall with voters in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Trump asserted a vaccine could be available within a month.
“We’re within weeks of getting it. You know, could be three weeks, four weeks,” he said.
Biden, who leads the Republican president in national opinion polls, has questioned whether Trump is pressuring agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sign off on a vaccine to boost his re-election prospects. At the same time, Biden has been careful to say he wants to see a safe vaccine as soon as possible.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that it would take six to nine months after any vaccine’s approval to distribute it nationally.
Redfield said any vaccine available in November or December would be in “very limited supply,” and reserved for first responders and people most vulnerable to COVID-19. The shot wouldn’t be broadly available until the spring or summer of 2021, he estimated.
Redfield and other health officials testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee also emphasized the effectiveness of masks in stopping the pandemic’s spread, given that no vaccine is 100% protective. The flu vaccine, for example, is generally about 40% to 60% effective against the annual viral strain.
Redfield, masked in the hearing room, said,“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”