Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris said at Wednesday’s debate that she would indeed take a vaccine for coronavirus, if it came out before the presidential election or shortly after — as long as Dr. Anthony Fauci and other federal health experts recommended it.
In early September, Harris responded to reports that the Trump administration was placing tremendous pressure on health officials and scientists to accelerate the development of a vaccine and hopefully salvage his reelection chances. She said she suggested that with the election so close, his word on the safety and efficacy of a vaccine was not to be trusted,
“I would not trust Donald Trump,” Harris said. “I will not take his word for it.”
Harris Said She Would Be ‘First in Line’ to Take a Vaccine Before or Shortly After the Election — But Not If Only Trump Endorsed It
Harris: "They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it … in spite of all of that, today they still don't have a plan." pic.twitter.com/FKgk1acvE4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 8, 2020
Moderator Susan Page, of USA Today, asked Harris if, with about half of Americans polled saying they wouldn’t trust a vaccine rushed out by Election Day or shortly after, she would take it.
“If [Dr. Anthony Fauci], if the doctors tell us we should take it, I’ll be first in line to take it,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not taking it
Pence had previously called Harris “irresponsible” for her comments about not trusting a vaccine if politics were influencing its timeline.
Pence Responded by Telling Harris She Was ‘Undermining’ Confidence in a Vaccine & Called Her Position ‘Unconscionable’
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 8, 2020
Pence told Harris her comments were “unconscionable” and there were currently tens of millions of doses in production.
“The reality is that we’re going to have a vaccine in unheard of time, less than a year,” Pence said. “We have five companies in Phase 3 clinical trials. We’re right now producing tens of millions of doses, and the fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable. I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”
The New York Times reported Tuesday that new Food and Drug Administration guidelines for vaccine developers had made it “highly unlikely” the cure would be ready for public consumption by Election Day.
Trump responded, calling the FDA’s new guidelines “another political hit job.”