Answer to ‘Biggest Question of Year’: Vaccine may become available ‘right around’ election; says Trump
but experts dissent
Published: 04:50 PM, 10 September 2020
US President Donald Trump has suggested that a coronavirus vaccine may become available "right around" the US election on November 3.
But public-health experts, financial analysts, and US government officials have said that the timeline is unrealistic.
Most experts think there's little hope of a vaccine being ready before the end of the year.
Under the most optimistic scenario, drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna could release positive results from their human trials in October.
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The answer to one of the biggest questions of the year — When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready? — differs depending on whom you ask.
Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told public-health officials in every state to prepare for vaccine distribution by November 1. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said the goal was to get ahead of the game, since the agency expects one or more vaccines to be ready by November or December.
Donald Trump has also suggested that a vaccine may become available "right around" the election on November 3.
"We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1," Trump said during a White House news conference on Friday. "We think we can probably have it sometime during the month of October."
But public-health experts say there's little hope of a vaccine being ready before the end of the year, let alone before the election.
On Tuesday, the CEOs of nine pharmaceutical companies issued a rare joint pledge promising to put safety before speed when developing a vaccine. The companies vowed to apply for an emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration only after demonstrating that their vaccines were safe and effective through a phase 3 trial — a vaccine's final test before it can be distributed to the public.
Under the most optimistic scenario, drug companies could release positive results from phase 3 trials in October. Pfizer and Moderna have each said that's possible.
But when it comes to rolling out that vaccine, most experts agree that it won't happen until 2021. Here's the most likely timeline according to government officials, public-health experts, and Wall Street analysts.