Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it will be the “late second quarter, third quarter 2021” before the American public returns to “regular life.”
The CDC head made the statements at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee panel on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A coronavirus vaccine is predicted to be available as early as November. However, the supply will be prioritized for the most vulnerable in our population first. Americans who are at lower risk will be offered the shot more gradually.
Redfield also noted that social distancing measures, hand washing and wearing masks will remain important even after the vaccine becomes available. He noted that there will be a time lag between the availability of a vaccine and it having a measurable effect on the pandemic.
“I might even 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,” Redfield said, because the vaccine is unlikely to produce the desired immune response in everyone who gets it.
Redfield predicted that it could be six to nine months after its approval before the vaccine has a measurable effect on American life.
At a news conference just hours after those statements, President Donald Trump contradicted Redfield, saying that he “made a mistake when he said that… we’re ready to distribute immediately to a vast section to the country.”
Trump said that he called the CDC director after his statement, and Redfield “didn’t tell me that.”
He said that Redfield made an “incorrect statement.”
The president, hoping that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in time for the 2020 election, has maintained that a vaccine could be ready by October, however, experts maintain that it will be November at the earliest. The CDC told public health officials in all 50 states that they should prepare to begin the distribution of a vaccine by Nov. 1.
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