Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield broke with President Donald Trump’s administration on the timeline of developing a coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, saying it will take months longer than estimated to get into the hands of the public.
Redfield made the comments during testimony to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday, saying a vaccine wouldn’t be widely available to the public until roughly half way through 2021. Other administration officials have said every American would be vaccinated much earlier than that.
“If you’re asking me when is it going to be available to the American public,” Redfield said in the hearing. “I think we’re probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021.” (RELATED: ‘Went Too Far’: NYT Reporter Calls For CDC Director To Resign, Sparking His Employer To Speak Out)
Redfield’s timeline conflicted with that of senior Department of Homeland Security official Paul Mango, who said Wednesday that every American would be vaccinated months earlier than that.
“We are under contract to get enough doses, and we have line of sight right now into the clinical trials such that we believe” the FDA will approve shots before the end of the year, Mango said in an interview, according to Bloomberg. “The combination of those two will permit us to vaccinate every American before the end of first quarter 2021.”
Redfield’s comments come after Trump said during a Tuesday night ABC Townhall that a coronavirus vaccine could be confirmed effective and approved within three to four weeks, though that is not the same as being widely available to the public.
Redfield also cautioned Americans against viewing a potential vaccine as an infallible solution to COVID-19. He argued some Americans could be better protected by simply wearing masks than by taking the vaccine.
“I may 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 percent, and if I don’t get an immune response the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will,” Redfield testified.
Redfield: masks are better than vaccines. pic.twitter.com/vyOB9UqDPj
— Alexander Nazaryan (@alexnazaryan) September 16, 2020