On Wednesday morning, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified that while limited doses for high-priority people could be available within months of a coronavirus vaccine proving effective, its widespread availability to people everywhere would not come until 2021, most likely by summer or fall.
A few hours later, President Donald Trump questioned the vaccine timeline Redfield gave, calling the senior health official’s estimate that a coronavirus vaccine would not be available until 2021 a “mistake.”
“We’re going to have a vaccine within months, at most,” Trump said. Meanwhile, Joe Biden held his own event on vaccines, criticizing the president’s record on science.
For public health experts, it was a worrying day. They fear that Election Day politics threaten to undermine public trust in vaccines. One expert put it directly: “Vaccination and prevention are life-saving efforts that apply to everybody that shouldn’t have anything to do with elections.”