- The Washington Times - Monday, September 7, 2020

President Trump on Monday repeated his belief there could be a coronavirus vaccine by October and accused his political opponents of “endangering lives” by questioning whether shots approved by his administration would be safe.

“The vaccine will be very safe,” Mr. Trump said at a Labor Day press conference from the White house. “You could have a very big surprise coming up.”

Multiple vaccine candidates are steeped in phase-3 trials as Mr. Trump scrambles to stamp out a pandemic that has killed nearly 190,000 people in the U.S.

Experts say it’s a stretch to think a vaccine would be ready and approved by Election Day — Nov. 3 — given the time it takes to enroll 30,000 people in each trial, give them doses and then wait and see what kind of immune response it produces and who gets sick or not.

They say November or December is more likely, though Mr. Trump said Monday: “Could even have it during the month of October.”

Presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden and other Democrats say Mr. Trump’s zeal for a vaccine is making them skittish about political influence on regulators at the Food and Drug Administration. Vaccines must clear a high bar for safety in part because they are administered to healthy people, rather than the sick and desperate.

Vice presidential candidate Kamala D. Harris suggested on Sunday she’d have to think twice before taking the vaccine.

“I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The president said they are sowing mistrust of vaccines at a pivotal time.

“It’s political rhetoric, that’s all it is,” Mr. Trump said.

He said Democrats are trying to disparage his team’s effort alongside drugmakers so that people “don’t think the achievement was a great achievement.”

“They’re going to make the vaccine into a negative,” the president said.

Mr. Trump chafed at the suggestion he is employing a double-standard, as he repeatedly floats the idea a vaccine could be available before the election.

“I’m saying that because we want to save a lot of lives,” he said.

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