Sen. Kamala Harris said during Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate with Vice President Mike Pence that she didn’t trust the administration’s push to rush a coronavirus vaccine into production.
“If the public health professionals, if Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely,” Harris said during the live debate in Salt Lake City, when asked if Americans should take a vaccine if the Trump administration approves one before or after the election. “But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it. I’m not taking it.”
Debate moderator Susan Page asked Pence a different question, but Pence took the opportunity to respond to Harris.
“We’re going to have a vaccine in record time, in unheard of time in less than a year,” he said. “We have five companies in phase-three clinical trials. And we’re right now producing tens of millions of doses. So the fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable. And senator, I just ask you: stop playing politics with people’s lives.”
Public health experts have said that a widely available vaccine likely won’t be available until at least next year. Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said that a vaccine would not be broadly available to the public until the middle of 2021.
More than 200,000 have died from coronavirus in the U.S. and more than seven million people have contracted the disease, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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