CDC director Robert Redfield testified before congress today. In his testimony, he stated that a vaccine could be produced in "very limited supply" by November or December of this year, and it could "generally" be available to Americans between late in the second quarter and the third quarter of next year, so roughly between June and September of 2021.
This is an optimistic timetable that recognizes the challenges of mass producing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to thousands of providers throughout the country. For perspective, remember that we still don't have anything approaching virus testing on-demand or even enough N95 masks, six months into this pandemic. Here's Redfield:
JUST IN: CDC Director Robert Redfield says at a Senate hearing he sees a #Covid19 vaccine being "generally available to the American public" in the "late second quarter, third quarter 2021" pic.twitter.com/8w2904TGhN— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 16, 2020
Trump rejected Redfield's statements before Congress. He said that Redfield made a "mistake" and maybe he got the message "confused" and that's "incorrect." He insisted that the vaccine would be ready in October (next month) or "a little bit after." He added that the vaccine will be ready to go "immediately as soon as it's announced," seeming to suggest that the moment a vaccine is available, we'll have 300 to 600 million doses ready for distribution throughout the country to a provider network that can inject all Americans who wish to be vaccinated.
This suggestion is, of course, ludicrous, but it's what Trump wants voters to believe going into the election.
Here's Trump shooting down the CDC director and making his preposterous claim.
“I think he made a mistake when he said that.”— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 16, 2020
Trump says CDC Director Robert Redfield was “confused” when he said November/December would be when a vaccine could be available and that general public won’t get it til next year. pic.twitter.com/jvt6Y98wEV
Redfield also encouraged mask-wearing, stating that masks are the most effective protective measure we have. He noted that a vaccine might, for example, provide 70% protection, so wearing a mask could be an important back up after vaccination. Here's Redfield again:
I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70%. And if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will.
Trump again seems to undercut the message that mask-wearing is a vital part of protecting Americans from the virus:
Maybe [Redfield] misunderstood [the question]... As far as the masks are concerned, I hope that the vaccine is going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks.