President Donald Trump predicted on Friday that the US would have enough coronavirus vaccines for anyone who wanted one to have one by April 2021.
Trump’s timeline is a bit sped up compared to timeframes offered by several government experts, including CDC Director Robert Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci and Redfield have suggested the a potential coronavirus vaccine would be widely available by the middle of 2021.
Trump said that the US would begin distributing vaccines within 24 hours of FDA approval of a vaccine, which he has suggested could happen as soon as the end of October.
“We will have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year,” Trump said. “And likely much more than that. Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April. Again, I will say even at that later stage, delivery will go as fast as it comes, they can deliver.”
Dr. Scott Atlas, a neurosurgeon who recently joined the White House coronavirus task force, agreed with Trump’s timeline. The highest risk Americans could expect to be vaccinated by January.
“The people on the prioritized lists, including high risk and first responders will have the ability to take the vaccine. At the latest, in January,” Atlas said.
“There will be hundreds of millions of doses delivered for people to take it during the first quarter [of 2021] and so that by April, every single American who wants to be vaccinated will have the ability to be vaccinated. It is not a forced vaccination,” Atlas added.
Redfield said it might not be until the middle of 2021 before a vaccine is widely available.
"I think we're probably looking at third late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” he said on Wednesday.
Trump later said that Redfield was “confused” over the timing of a vaccine.
"I think he made a mistake when he said that,” Trump said. “That's just incorrect information. I called him and he didn't tell me that and I think he got the message maybe confused. maybe it was stated incorrectly.”
Trump said on Friday that he thinks the timeline given by Redfield and Fauci can be shortened “considerably.”
There are several vaccines in Phase 3 testing. Even though a vaccine could be approved by year’s end, trials will be expected to continue for over a year to monitor for possible side effects.
According to the FDA, a typical Phase 3 trial would take one to three years.