The Center Square [By Dan McCaleb] –
President Donald Trump touted progress on the development of COVID-19 vaccines and a distribution plan released Wednesday that an advisor said could make hundreds of millions of doses available by the end of the March.
Three potential vaccines are currently in Stage 3 trials in the U.S. and could be ready by October or November, Trump said during a White House news briefing.
Once a vaccine or multiple vaccines are approved, the federal government, with the help of the U.S. military, is prepared to rapidly distribute it across the country.
“We will have rapid distribution,” Trump said.
Pfizer, one of the companies testing a vaccine, already is mass-producing it because it’s confident its Phase 3 testing will be successful, the president said.
Presidential adviser Dr. Scott Atlas said the distribution plan will go into effect the same day or the day after a vaccine is approved.
Initially, the vaccine will be made available to health care and other vital workers, as well as the elderly and others who are more vulnerable to serious COVID-19 symptoms. Atlas said the vaccine will be made available to all Americans who want it about the end of March.
“No later than January all the top priority people will have been able to get the vaccine,” he said. “It is anticipated there will be more than 700 million doses by end of Q1.”
Trump said the federal government will be able to make any vaccine available so quickly because of Operation Warp Speed, which cut red tape in the approval process, and the military helping with distribution.
Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before a Congressional committee that the vaccine would not be available to the general public in mid-2021 and that masks might be a more effective treatment against COVID-19 than a vaccine would.
When asked about Redfield’s testimony, Trump said he briefly spoke with the director and claimed he was either mistaken or didn’t understand the questions.
Trump also confirmed that individuals will not be charged to receive the vaccine.