- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday said that it is “absolutely” possible for the Pentagon to roll out a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.

Defense Department researchers and scientists are working to develop both vaccines and therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 to be widely distributed once proven effective.

“I’ve spoken to our medical experts about this. We are completely confident that we can get this done,” he said during an interview on NBC’s “Today.”

“The Defense Department has been on top of the coronavirus since the early days … We’ve been ahead of the curve and in the fight from day one,” Mr. Esper continued.

The Pentagon chief said earlier this month that social distancing requirements in the Department of Defense, such as wearing face masks, are likely to remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

But Mr. Esper said Friday that a vaccine is “the next phase of this battle.”

“We will deliver on time the vaccines. … I’m confident we will deliver,” he said.

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