The U.S. is on track to manufacture 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year and have enough for “every American” by April, President Trump said Friday, putting down a marker for delivery as drugmakers race to determine whether candidates in late-stage trials are safe and effective.
He said the first doses will go out to high-priority persons right after the Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine candidate.
“Distribution will begin within 24 hours,” Mr. Trump said.
Many view a vaccine as the most critical tool in returning to a sense of normalcy to the country, as many children receive school instruction at home, businesses remain closed and the COVID-19 death toll nears 200,000 in the U.S.
Developing a vaccine for a newly discovered pathogen would usually take years, but drug makers are leveraging new technologies and unprecedented government support to speed one to market amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Mr. Trump says his moves to cut red tape and prepare logistics through his “Operation Warp Speed” have paid off.
“There’s never been anything like this, ever,” he said.
Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca are steeped in phase 3 trials of their vaccines, giving the U.S. multiple stabs at a successful product this fall.
Democrats are worried Mr. Trump will lean on the FDA to bless a vaccine before it’s fully vetted for safety.
FDA officials insist they will not cut corners, as the president pushes for some form of approval by late October.
“We think that sometime in the very near future we’ll have it,” Mr. Trump said Friday.
A White House coronavirus adviser, Scott Atlas, said first responders and high-risk people will have the ability to take the vaccine through January, before it’s distributed to the general public.
“There will be hundreds of millions of doses delivered for people to take it during the first quarter,” he said. “Every single American who wants to be vaccinated will have the ability to be vaccinated.”