US President Donald Trump has stepped up the already-improbable timetable on a potential coronavirus vaccine, hinting one might be ready “much sooner” than the end of the year – even before Election Day in November.
Asked by radio host Geraldo Rivera when the much-hyped Covid-19 jab will be available to Americans, Trump promised “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner” on Thursday’s show.
When Rivera asked if that meant “sooner than November 3” – Election Day – Trump tentatively agreed, couching his assent in qualifications. “I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time.”
Dubbed “Operation Warp Speed,” the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine has raised eyebrows in the scientific community for slashing the timetable of typical vaccine development, which averages around a decade, requiring extensive safety testing, animal trials, and monitoring test subjects for adverse effects.
Even some of the nation’s most vociferous vaccine boosters have advised caution regarding the coronavirus vaccine, noting that previous attempts to develop jabs for viruses like SARS and MERS have not ended well for the test subjects. Operation Warp Speed’s director, GlaxoSmithKline’s Moncef Slaoui, ran that company’s vaccine division during the disastrous swine flu vaccine rollout, which left numerous British children with permanent brain damage.
Trump, however, has been all-in on the vaccine gold rush. The Geraldo show was the second time this week he has pledged to have a shot available before year’s end, following on the heels of a Monday press briefing in which he insisted scientists were “balancing speed and safety” and “on pace to have a vaccine available this year, maybe far in advance of the end of the year.” Trump has also hinted the military will be administering the vaccine, sparking rumors the jab will be mandatory.
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