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Trump Sidelines Science as He Contradicts CDC Director on Vaccines and Masks

HeadlineSep 17, 2020

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that U.S. residents shouldn’t expect to receive a vaccine for the coronavirus until at least mid-2021, contradicting President Trump’s claim that at least 100 million doses could be distributed by the end of 2020. Dr. Robert Redfield was speaking at a Senate hearing on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Robert Redfield: “If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third — late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”

President Trump lashed out at Dr. Redfield’s testimony, telling reporters in the White House press briefing room that the top U.S. public health official misspoke.

President Donald Trump: “I think he made a mistake when he said that. It’s just incorrect information. And I called him, and he didn’t tell me that. And I think he got the message maybe confused.”

Trump also contradicted the CDC director over masks, saying a vaccine would be much more effective than facial coverings at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. His comment came after Dr. Redfield estimated a potential coronavirus vaccine might only be 70% effective at generating an immune response — making widespread mask use critical to ending the pandemic in the future.

Dr. Robert Redfield: “The face masks, these face masks, are the most important, powerful public health tool we have. And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings. I’ve said that if we did it for six, eight, 10, 12 weeks, we’d bring this pandemic under control.”

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