Trump and Biden accuse each other of politicizing the Covid-19 vaccine

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President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden have accused each other of politicizing a Covid-19 vaccine, threatening to undermine the public confidence necessary to ensure that enough people receive the vaccine when it is available.

At a White House Labor Day press briefing, Mr Trump said it would be “dangerous” for the United States if people listened to concerns expressed by Mr Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, about a potential coronavirus vaccine.

“Biden and his very liberal running mate. . . would destroy this country and destroy this economy. [They] should immediately apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric. They are . . . putting lives at risk and that undermines science, ”he said.

Ms Harris, a Democratic senator from California, told CNN State of the Union Sunday that she would not take the president’s word alone that a Covid-19 vaccine was safe, effective and ready for use by the public.

“I wouldn’t trust Donald Trump, and he would have to be a credible news source that talks about the effectiveness and reliability of whatever he talks about,” Harris told CNN.

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Mr Trump said he recently spoke to CEOs of J&J and Pfizer, pharmaceutical companies developing Covid-19 vaccines, and suggested that a vaccine could be ready by October, ahead of the election. presidential election of 3 November.

“What they’re saying is, ‘Oh, wow, that’s bad news, President Trump is getting this vaccine in record time.’ By the way, if it was the Obama administration , you wouldn’t have this vaccine for three years and you probably wouldn’t have it at all, “he said.” So we’re going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special day. “

Earlier today, Mr Biden, who was campaigning in Pennsylvania, said he would follow scientists’ advice on whether to get vaccinated against Covid-19. When asked if he would trust Anthony Fauci, one of the top doctors on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and the Food and Drug Administration, he said he would like a ” full transparency “.

Mr Biden has previously accused Mr Trump of “undermining public trust” and “playing politics” with the prospect of a vaccine in order to boost his campaign.

The United States’ response to the coronavirus pandemic has been politically charged with battles over tests, masks, and drugs such as hydroxychloroquine. A successful vaccine is seen as essential to completely reopening the economy without risking a new wave of infections.

For a vaccine to be successful, enough people must take it to create immunity to Covid-19 in the population. Public health experts fear that more people will join an existing anti-vaccine – or “anti-vaxx” movement – if there is concern that the speed at which the vaccine is approved means that it is neither safe nor effective. Recent surveys show that between a quarter and a third of Americans would not take a vaccine.

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The fight comes after senior U.S. health officials said they were preparing for early approval of a vaccine. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has asked states to approve requests for vaccine distribution centers by November.

Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, told the Financial Times he was ready to speed up a vaccine, granting it emergency use clearance, but wouldn’t do it to please Mr Trump .

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