President Trump’s optimistic promises that the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready either before the election or by the end of the year appear less likely to be fulfilled.
In an interview Wednesday with the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Anthony Fauci adjusted the administration’s schedule for when the vaccine will be ready.
“It could be January, it could be later. We don’t know, “said Fautsi, a leading infectious disease expert on the presidential coronavirus task force.
In early October, shortly after being treated for his own COVID-19 infection at Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump repeatedly said in the wake of the campaign that “vaccines are coming for a moment.” But when pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer announced on Oct. 16 that it would delay applying to the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency permit to distribute the vaccine it is developing, Trump softened his statements, saying the vaccine would come “within weeks.”
Regarding corporate profits on Tuesday, Pfizer revealed that it has so far failed to conduct a phase III clinical pathway analysis to determine if its vaccine is safe and effective, STAT reported. Without this analysis, the FDA will not authorize emergency use.
“I can tell you that our decision at the FDA will not be made on any criteria other than science and data related to these clinical trials,” FDA Director Stephen Hahn told CBS News in September.
He had responded to the president’s accusations days earlier that the FDA had been devastated by the “deep state” by delaying the release of a vaccine to damage his chances of re-election.
The deep state, or whatever, at the FDA makes it very difficult for pharmaceutical companies to get people to test vaccines and therapists. Apparently, they hope to delay the response until after November 3. You need to focus on speed and saving lives! @SteveFDA
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2020
The clash prompted Health and Humanitarian Minister and Trump loyalist Alex Hazard to try to replace the FDA director, Politico reported.
But Trump’s claim that the vaccine could be ready by Nov. 3 has always been incredible. While Operation Warp Speed has made remarkable initial progress in vaccine production, the reality has come in recent weeks as manufacturers such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have been forced to pause their vaccination trials after participants became ill.
Such barriers are common in vaccine development and do not necessarily mean that the compound being tested has caused the disease, but researchers must study to rule it out.
Health experts have always known that the chances were long that the vaccine could be made available to the public by the end of the year. When he testified before Congress in mid-September, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield said the vaccine would not be widely available until late spring or early summer next year.
“If you ask me when it will be publicly available to the American public so we can start using the vaccine to get back to our normal lives, I think we’re probably looking at the end of the second quarter, the third quarter of 2021,” he said. Redfield, a prediction that Trump felt he needed to correct.
“I think he made a mistake in saying that,” Trump told a White House test conference the next day. “It’s just false information, and I called him and he didn’t tell me, and I think his message is confused – maybe it’s incorrect.”
Trump’s optimism is based on his plan to attract the US military to distribute the vaccine, which in turn suggests that a safe and effective product is available.
“We have a vaccine coming up, it’s ready,” Trump said during the final presidential debate. “It will be announced in weeks and will be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which is military, it will spread the vaccine. “
But Trump’s own military personnel may not be on board with that plan.
“Our best military assessment is that there is enough commercial transport capacity in the United States to fully support the spread of vaccines,” said Charles Pritchard, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, in an interview in late September. “There should not be much commitment from DOD units or staff to support the national distribution of vaccines.”
To date, COVID-19 has killed more than 228,000 Americans and infected more than 8.9 people in the United States. The pandemic is deteriorating, with new cases rising 41 percent nationwide in the past 14 days. In the last 24 hours alone, 81,457 new cases and 1,016 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the United States
Tests for phase III vaccines are ongoing and it is possible for a company to contact the FDA in the weeks after the election seeking an emergency use permit. Even so, that doesn’t mean the vaccine will be approved before the end of the year, or that if it is, it will be available to most Americans until after the “dark winter,” Trump opponent Joe Biden says it’s coming.
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