President Donald Trump said in a news conference on November 13 that mass doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to the public in mass doses “as soon as April.”
However, a key figure in the administration’s fight against COVID-19, General Gustave Perna, said it’s possible 20 million doses of a vaccine could be available to Americans by December if emergency approval is received from the Food and Drug Administration.
In the news conference, Trump focused on his administration’s COVID-19 response. He said that the elderly, frontline workers, and other at-risk Americans would get the vaccine first. A Pfizer vaccine, which the company announced this week is 90% effective, and others under development, still need to receive emergency authorization.
The government’s efforts to get a vaccine ready for public use is called “Operation Warp Speed.”
“As we continue to combat the virus, our economy is rebounding beyond any expectations,” Trump said, adding that job numbers were “incredible.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Says ‘Mass Distribution’ of a COVID-19 Vaccine is Coming
Trump said during the news conference that he would “like to congratulate everyone involved in this effort. As a result, Pfizer announced on Monday its China virus vaccine is 90 percent effective. It exceeds all expectations.”
He said he hoped the Pfizer vaccine would be “approved very, very quickly.” He said the average timeline can take 8-12 years for a vaccine, but this one would be done in “less than one year. No one can believe it. Three other vaccines are in final stages of trial and will also be mass produced.”
He said the vaccine will be distributed first to at-risk Americans, the elderly, and front-line workers “in a matter of weeks.”
“By vaccinating elderly and high risk, we effectively end this phase of this pandemic and allow seniors to reclaim the golden years of their lives,” said Trump.
He said that “millions of doses will soon be going out” and added “as soon as April, a vaccine will be available.”
Trump then took swipes at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, accusing him of saying “for political reasons that he wants to take his time with the vaccine.” Trump said New York will get the vaccine when Cuomo lets “us know when he’s ready for it.”
He called it a “very safe and great vaccine.”
He stressed the cost of a national lockdown. “This administration will not go to a lockdown.” He said “time will tell” whichever administration is in power, despite all news networks calling the election for former Vice President Joe Biden.
He said drugs, alcohol, depression, business closures, and loss of jobs are all caused by lockdowns.
“We have others coming we think will be of equal level (to the Pfizer vaccine),” Trump said of vaccines.
Trump said the administration had “reached agreement with Pfizer to support mass distribution” of the Pfizer vaccine. He said the government had provided funding to “make it possible for Pfizer to provide the vaccine free of charge.”
Trump also touted other actions his administration took on COVID-19.
“Every American who needed a ventilator has had access to a ventilator. We haven’t had one person in this whole country who needed or requested a ventilator who hasn’t had it,” said Trump.
He said his administration was putting forth “emergency use authorizations for a number of additional treatments.”
A Top General Said 20 Millions Doses Will Be Available Even Sooner if Authorization Is Received
General Gustave Perna said in the news conference on November 13 that an even quicker time frame is possible.
Hopefully if approved, vaccines could be used for immunization in the U.S. population in the month of December, he said. He said the administration plans “to have enough vaccine doses for 20 million individuals in the month of December and another 25-30 million per month on an ongoing basis from there on.”
Perna said the mission of Operation Warp Speed is to “enable and accelerate the development of vaccines” and therapeutics.
The goal was to have vaccines approved for use in the general population by the end of the year.
“We can say that significant process has been made…we are close to the objective,” said Perna.
He said there are six vaccines under development that were accepted using different approaches.
“These vaccines are now in the clinical development stages. Four are in phase three trials. Two have effectively completed enrollment in the past three trial.”
He said vaccination “is possible against COVID-19.” On Wednesday, another company with a vaccine said they have achieved a number of cases in their trial. He said probably next week “we may hear” more good news about a second COVID-19 vaccine.
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