The CDC Director Robert Redfield has got a phone call from Donald Trump and probably got chewed on….
But Redfield also let on about about more of the nuts and bolts of the vaccine going out to the public at large….
And all this has of course a political shading….
The CDC told states this month they should be ready to receive a coronavirus vaccine as early as Nov. 1 — two days before the election — prompting allegations from critics that the date was politically motivated. Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Human Services, of which the CDC is a part, accused the administration of “rampant political interference in scientific decision-making.”
Redfield pressed back against such suggestions during an appearance Wednesday before the committee. He said the advice to states was based on the pace of the science, not any electoral considerations. And he said his agency was eager to avoid repeating a problem that emerged during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, when a vaccine became available and states were not ready to receive and distribute it.
“We don’t want to repeat that hiccup,” Redfield told senators.
He also said the government does not have an estimated $6 billion it needs for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. Such funds were proposed in pandemic relief legislation that Congress has not adopted, among partisan disputes over how much more aid the government should provide for laid-off workers and a variety of other purposes.
Providing that money, Redfield said, “is as urgent as getting these manufacturing facilities up.”
Biden’s remarks Wednesday show how the pandemic has increasingly become a focal point for both candidates in the final weeks of the race. Biden campaign advisers have regarded the election as a referendum on Trump and his handling of the pandemic. The campaign continues to hold events and run advertisements squarely on this theme.
The former vice president’s comments, extending suspicions Biden has expressed in recent weeks, highlight the extraordinary roughness of this presidential contest. In past election cycles, calling into question whether an incumbent might risk deliberate harm to Americans to forward his political ambitions was not the norm.
But speaking in Wilmington, Del., Biden expressed reservations about whether a coronavirus vaccine approved by the Trump administration would be safe, casting doubt on the incumbent’s willingness to put the health of Americans before politics.
“I trust vaccines. I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And at this point, the American people can’t, either.”
Biden raised the possibility of Trump pressuring his administration’s health officials to sign off on a vaccine in which scientists do not yet have full confidence in order to gain an election advantage. The Democratic nominee expressed skepticism about the CDC and the FDA, as well as the president.
The former vice president essentially echoed Redfield’s point that vaccinating the nation will happen gradually. “It’s not going to happen overnight,” Biden said. “Once we have it, it’s going to take months to distribute.”
If a vaccine is swiftly approved, it could upend the campaign, and both sides are increasingly bracing for how to deal with the political uncertainty of the coming weeks. Still, experts have questioned whether it is realistic for one to become available before the election….
Biden also raised the possibility of President Trump pressuring agency officials to sign off on a vaccine that scientists are not yet confident in, to gain an electoral advantage.
The comments, which echo suspicions Biden has expressed in recent weeks, highlight the extraordinary division between the two candidates. Biden’s remarks also show how the pandemic has become a focal point in the final weeks of the race….
image….Joe Biden in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)