Sunday, September 20, 2020

Health experts caution Trump's vaccine timeline not realistic

CNN reports: Trump says every American can get a coronavirus vaccine by April, but health experts say that’s not likely. Following are excerpts.

President Donald Trump claimed Friday there will be enough coronavirus vaccines for every American by April – a claim that doesn’t match any timeline given by the federal government’s health agencies, private researchers or even the companies making the vaccines.

But Trump and one of his top advisers said they were confident that a vaccine would be approved, manufactured and ready for distribution to all by April.

“As soon as a vaccine is approved the administration will deliver it to the American people immediately,” Trump said at a White House news briefing on Friday. “Distribution will begin with 24 hours after notice.”

… Trump’s newest adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Scott Atlas, echoed the April promise at the news briefing.

“By April every single American who wants to be vaccinated will have the ability to be vaccinated,” Atlas said.

Well …

For the sake of Scribers’ travel plans we hope that the timeline is possible. However:

Earlier this week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield told a Senate Appropriations committee hearing that it would likely be the second or third quarter of next year – late spring or summer – before widespread vaccination could be underway in the US.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he agrees with that timeline.

Dr. Peter Hotez, a pediatrician, vaccine expert and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN that Trump’s promise is unrealistic.

“There’s too many unknowns right now for either the President or Dr. Atlas to make those statements,” Hotez said.

“First of all, we don’t even know if any of the three Operation Warp Speed vaccines in clinical trials even work or if they are safe,” he added.

Most groups advising the federal government on a vaccine distribution plan have advised immunizing people in groups, with frontline health care workers and people at high risk of severe illness at the front of the line.

“Can we vaccinate all of the country by April? I don’t see how that’s possible,” Hotez said.

“To have the nation vaccinated by the end of 2021 would still be a world land speed record.”

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