Four U.S. companies have brought potential coronavirus vaccines to the third phase of trials, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.
Trump said the administration will grant $200 billion to companies to support the distribution effort so the vaccine can be as readily available as possible should it pass the third phase. Trump announced that Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) potential vaccine is the fourth U.S.-developed option to enter the third phase. He maintains that an effective vaccine could begin distribution in October, if it is approved.
After making the announcement and addressing potential Supreme Court news, Trump cut short the press conference to take “an emergency phone call.”
Pres Trump cuts short his news conference saying he has to take “an emergency phone call.” pic.twitter.com/D6JZfv4ZIq
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 23, 2020
The Trump administration announced it had reached a $1 billion deal with J&J in early August to manufacture 100 million doses of whatever vaccine is proven to be effective. The deal came as part of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, which aims at partnering the public and private sectors to minimize the time it takes to find a vaccine.
“With the portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration is increasing the likelihood that the United States will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said at the time.
The timeline for vaccine research is traditionally measured in years, but Trump and experts have said a vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready before 2021. (RELATED: Trump Calls On SCOTUS To Overturn Affordable Care Act)
Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris have expressed skepticism over the creation of a vaccine under the Trump administration, suggesting Trump may rush the process for political reasons and ship an unsafe drug. Trump responded to the accusation at the Wednesday briefing, saying Biden’s objections are “anti-science.”