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Trump expects COVID-19 vaccine in fall, a timeline doubted by many

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  • President Donald Trump expects a vaccine for the coronavirus to arrive this fall, Politico reported.
  • That timeline could prove faster even than the federal government’s ambitious push to get vaccines to Americans by January 2021.
  • Many experts have warned that later in 2021 is the earliest a vaccine could reach people.
  • Vaccine production has been unusually speedy, with multiple companies ramping up production and moving forward with trials.
  • Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.

President Donald Trump expects a vaccine for the coronavirus to arrive this fall, seemingly relying a timeline that’s much faster than what many experts say is possible.

Trump has told both his advisers and his allies that he expects this timeline for the vaccine’s arrival, according to a report from Politico’s Nancy Cook and Gabby Orr.

Vaccine makers around the world are attempting to create a vaccine against COVID-19 at an unprecedented pace.

They hope that, once administered widely enough, it would allow life in much of the world to return to normal.

It is not clear what stage of vaccine production Trump means by “arrive,” but fall 2020 is optimistic for even the more preliminary steps along the road to having a workable vaccine.

Almost nobody expects that a vaccine can be in general circulation, protecting ordinary people, by fall.

If Trump is referring to the vaccine being administered to the public, then he is ahead of his own government’s $10-billion “Operation Warp Speed” project.

That aims to deliver 300 million vaccine doses by January 2021.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, said in May that it was a “bridge too far” to think a vaccine would ready before college classes start in the fall.

In a later timeline in explained in front of Congress, Fauci said a vaccine could be ready to give to the American public by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021.

Other experts are far more pessimistic.

Many, including France’s research minister and Yale public health professor Jason Swartz, have previously said it could be Fall 2021 before a vaccine is available.

Other experts have said even the 2021 timeline is ambitious.

Dr. Paul Offit, who helped invent the rotavirus vaccine, told CNN in April that this timeline was “ridiculously optimistic.”

And Peter Hotez, the dean of Baylor University’s National School of Tropical Medicine, then told National Geographic that it “would be absolutely unprecedented.”

David Ridley, a health economist at Duke University, told The Associated Press in June that even if doses were ready to go in the US by the end of 2020, “only some high-risk people, such as essential workers, go to the front of a very long line.”

“Will you and I get vaccinated this year?,” he asked. “No way.”

In order to be able to administered to the public in countries around the world, vaccines have to go through multiple stages, including development, clinical trials, regulatory approval, production, and distribution.

Experts warn that even the steps that seem comparatively simple could present big roadblocks. The US is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to address a shortage of glass vials that could snarl up the supply chain, for example.

Manufacturers are following speedy timelines: American biotech Moderna plans to give 30,000 a small dose in a phase-three trial in July,  while France’s Sanofi is speeding up development that could see a vaccine get regulatory approval in the first half of next year

coronavirus vaccine vial oxford vaccine group

A trial coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University scientists.

Sean Elias/Handout via Reuters


Manufacturers like Moderna are also ramping up production to start making millions of vaccine doses to get them ready for distribution the hopes that they are approved.

But it is also possible that an effective vaccine may never come: there is still no vaccine for viruses that have long plagued humans, like HIV and Hepatitis C.

And, as Vox reported, it is not yet clear how long immunity from a vaccine would last.

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