United States President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on September 18, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump said Friday the US would produce enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every American by April.
He said the US will have at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year, and "probably a lot more than that".
"Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect enough vaccines to be available for every American by April. Even at this later stage, I'll say delivery is as soon as possible," Trump said at a press conference in the White House.
Trump's forecast is in conflict with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said earlier this week that the US would start vaccinating people in November or December at the earliest and that would be limited. CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said a vaccine wouldn't be widely available until the summer or early fall of next year.
"If you're asking me when it will be generally available to the American public so we can start using the vaccine to get back to our normal lives, then we're probably looking at the third … late second quarter, third quarter 2021, "he told the US Senate Subcommittee on Funds for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Allied Agencies on Wednesday.
Trump said Friday that "massive amounts" of the vaccine are "being delivered by our great military and the general is one of our best and he's ready to go."
"We are very far back on the vaccine. We believe we will have it in the near future," he said. "We … I would say I think I can say years ahead of schedule what it would be if it were a different administration than this."
Trump's comments came two days after he said the U.S. government could start distributing a coronavirus vaccine as early as October. He said Redfield was wrong when he said the vaccine won't be widely available to the public until next summer or early fall.
"I think he made a mistake saying this. It's just wrong information and I called him and he didn't tell me and I think he may have confused the message, maybe it was given incorrectly", said Trump on Wednesday. "We are up and running as the vaccine is announced and could be announced in October. It could be announced shortly after October, but as soon as we get started we will be ready."
There are currently three drug companies that the US is helping with late-stage testing for potential vaccines. Earlier this week, the CDC outlined a comprehensive plan to make a vaccine free to all Americans, if one is approved for public use.
Public health experts have previously said that most Americans are unlikely to be vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine until the middle of next year.
Earlier this month, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a draft proposal for distribution of a vaccine in the US, if approved. The vaccine would be distributed in four phases, with health workers, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions being vaccinated first. Next on the list are key workers, teachers and people in shelters for the homeless and people in prisons, followed by children and young adults.
Regardless of which vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it will likely run short once it's cleared for public distribution, medical experts warn. The vaccine is likely to require two doses at different intervals, and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution points and obtaining enough needles, syringes, and bottles needed for immunizations.
Trump's comments will likely add to concAccording to infectious disease experts and scientists, the White House is putting pressure on U.S. regulators to approve a vaccine before it's properly tested.