Coronavirus: What have Trump & Biden said about a vaccine?
Donald Trump is pushing for a Covid-19 vaccine to be ready as early as October, while Joe Biden has accused the president of "playing politics" with the vaccine.
With the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine coinciding with the run-up to November’s presidential elections, concerns have been raised that political pressure from President Donald Trump may result in the release of a vaccine before it is safe.
Speaking at a White House press conference on Monday, Trump said a Covid-19 vaccine could be produced by the US in “record time” and made available as early as “the month of October”.
"It's going to be -- it's going to be done in a very short period of time. Could even have it during the month of October," Trump said during his White House appearance.
"Contrary to all of the lies, the vaccine -- they're political lies, they'll say anything, and it's so dangerous for our country, what they say -- but the vaccine will be very safe and very effective and it’ll be delivered very soon.
"You could have a very big surprise coming up and I’m sure you’ll be very happy, the people will be happy, the people of the world will be very happy.”
Trump slams Biden and Harris for “anti-vaccine rhetoric”
Trump also slammed his Democratic presidential opponent Joe Biden and Biden's running mate Kamala Harris for spreading “anti-vaccine rhetoric”, in reference to comments made by the Democratic pair surrounding their concerns about Trump trying to push through a vaccine before it has been deemed safe and effective.
"Biden and his very liberal running mate, the most liberal person in Congress by the way -- is not a competent person in my opinion, would destroy this country and would destroy this economy --should immediately apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric that they are talking right now," Trump said, adding: "It undermines science."
Coronavirus vaccine: what have Biden and Harris said?
Trump has clearly been left vexed by comments made by Harris in a CNN interview on Sunday, during which the vice-presidential candidate said: “I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about. I will not take his word for it. He wants us to inject bleach. No, I will not take his word.”
Speaking to reporters on the campaign trail on Monday, Biden, who has been fiercely critical of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, also called for “full transparency on the vaccine.”
The former vice-president accused Trump of “playing with politics” with the vaccine, warning that “if we do have a really good vaccine people are going to be reluctant to take it.”
Contrary to Trump’s alleged attempts to politicize the vaccine, Biden said he would welcome the approval of a vaccine “tomorrow” even “if it cost me the election.”
“We need a vaccine and we need it now,” he added.
States should prepare to distribute vaccine by 1 November
Last Saturday, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that states across the United States should be making preparations to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by 1 November "just in case" one is ready.
"We've always said that we are hopeful for a vaccine by the end of this year or beginning of next year," Dr. Jerome Adams said in an ABC News interview Friday (via CNN). "That said, it's not just about having a vaccine that is safe and effective -- it's about being ready to distribute it."
Asked if pressure to get a vaccine on the market by 1 November was more to do with politics than science, Adams replied: “What people need to understand is we have what are called data safety monitoring boards that blind the data, so it won't be possible to actually move forward unless this independent board thinks that there is good evidence that these vaccines are efficacious."
Coronavirus vaccine: US drugmakers to sign pact
Meanwhile, leading US drug makers announced that they planned to sign a pledge to re-assure the American public that they would not seek government approval on a vaccine until it had been deemed safe and effective.
The move could be seen as a response to growing concerns over political pressure led by Trump aimed at getting a vaccine approved before November’s elections.