Director of Center for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield appears at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing “Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts” on Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., September 16, 2020. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready as soon as October and distributed shortly after that, contradicting a timeline laid out by the country’s top health experts. “We’re ready to move, and I think it will be full distribution,” he asserted to reporters.

At a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield testified that a safe and effective vaccine may not be widely available until next summer, though he noted a vaccine would be in “very limited supply”  by the end of this year or early next year for high-risk individuals and first responders. Redfield also stressed the importance of wearing masks in his testimony. “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.

Trump told reporters that Redfield was “confused” on the vaccine timeline and had most likely misunderstood the question. Trump added, “As far as the masks are concerned, I hope that the vaccine is going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks.” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reiterated Trump’s comments on Thursday, saying, “I’m not sure where Dr. Redfield got his particular timetable, but it is not based on those that are closest to the process.”

Earlier this month, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, one of the leaders of Operation Warp Speed charged with developing a vaccine, said having a vaccine ready by October of November was “extremely unlikely.” Officials from Operation Warp Speed outlined plans for administering a future vaccine on Wednesday, promising to start distributing any approved vaccine within 24 hours of approval or emergency authorization.

Source: Buzzfeed, CDC / ACIP / Via cdc.gov

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Meadows: Redfield’s Vaccine Timeline Not Based on Close Sources – Newsmax – 9/17/2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield’s Senate testimony that a coronavirus vaccine won’t be rolled out widely until next year was not based on the correct timetable, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Thursday. […] Meadows’ comments echoed those of President Donald Trump, who told reporters Wednesday that he thinks Redfield made a “mistake” when he told a Senate panel that the vaccine could be rolled out by the middle of next year or later, and accused him of being “confused” and misunderstanding the question.

Trump Claims Vaccine Will Be Ready by Fall, Says CDC Director Was ‘Confused’ – The Daily Beast – 9/16/2020
President Trump opened his latest White House press briefing on Wednesday by accusing those who question the safety of his administration’s COVID-19 vaccine of “recklessly endangering lives,” but mere moments later, he explicitly contradicted one of his administration’s leading medical officials, claiming he was “confused” about when the vaccine will be ready, and then went on to blame Democratic states for the high death toll. Trump’s comments, which came as he storms towards a contentious election that could oust him from office, focused on the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who hours earlier had testified under oath that the COVID-19 vaccine Trump keeps touting will be ready soon likely won’t be “generally available to the American public” until next summer.

US health official laments ‘politicization’ of CDC after Trump and Redfield spat – The Guardian – 9/17/2020
A prominent public health official on Thursday lamented the politicization of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after a public spat a day earlier between Donald Trump and the CDC director, Dr Robert Redfield, a medical doctor, over masks and a Covid-19 vaccine. The president said Redfield was “confused” about the timeline for a coronavirus vaccine and attacked Redfield over his assertion that masks are “the most important, powerful public health tool we have” to combat coronavirus. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday that there was no doubt about which man was confused.

Countries need consistent messaging for public, not ‘Covid-19 political football,’ WHO says after Trump remarks – RT International – 9/17/2020
Commenting on contradictory remarks by the US president and health officials, the World Health Organization’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said it is important for all states to have “consistent messaging” for their public. […] In response to a question about the exchange, the WHO’s Ryan said it’s important that “we have consistent messaging from all levels, and it’s not for one country or one entity; consistent messaging between science and between government.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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