Biden Says Not Concerned If Trump Announces Vaccine Days Before Election: ‘It’d Be Wonderful’

August 24, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Aug. 23 that he is not concerned that President Donald Trump could announce a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus vaccine days before the Nov. 3 election.

Biden made the remarks in response to a question from ABC “World News Tonight” host David Muir, who asked Biden to comment on the president’s forecast earlier this month that a vaccine for the CCP virus vaccine could be readily available in the United States by the end of the year, or “in some cases,” before the 2020 presidential election.

“No, I’m not concerned. I would hope that they’d be able to have the vaccine,” Biden said Sunday in his first joint interview with his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

“Now, most of the medical guys and women I talked to—I get advised four times a week for an hour and a half from the leading health care providers and immunologists in the country—and they tell me that’s highly unlikely to be able to do that,” Biden continued.

“But if God willing it happened, it’d be wonderful.”

Biden said his concern is whether or not the CCP virus vaccine will be made widely available and be accessible to all people.

“It has to be thoroughly transparent,” he said. “The entire medical community has to understand what was done, how the vaccine was developed, what test did it go through, so that people have confidence in it.”

Trump, when asked on the Geraldo Rivera radio program on Aug. 6 when a vaccine might be ready, said, “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner.”

“Sooner than November 3?” he was asked.

“I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time,” Trump said.

Later at the White House, Trump said he was optimistic a vaccine would be available around that date. When asked if it would help him in the election, he said, “It wouldn’t hurt. But I’m doing it, not for the election; I want to save a lot of lives.”

Top government health officials have said corners would not be cut in the race to find an affective vaccine to fight the virus. Three vaccines are currently in phase 3—the final stage—of clinical trials with AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer.

The president said during a White House press briefing on Aug. 14 that more than 100 million doses of a vaccine are expected to be available before the end of the year and 500 million doses ready shortly thereafter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. government infectious diseases official, told Reuters on Aug. 5 that there might be an indication that at least one vaccine works and is safe by year end.

The Trump administration earlier this month struck a deal valued at up to $1.525 billion with Massachusetts-based drugmaker Moderna to secure 100 million doses of its potential CCP virus vaccine. Moderna’s price per dose comes to around $30.50 per person for a two-dose regimen. Its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, is on track to be completed in September, the company said this month.

Under the agreement, the U.S. government will also have the option to purchase another 400 million doses of the vaccine candidate from Moderna.

It is part of the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed—a national effort to quickly develop and deliver a safe and effective vaccine and therapeutics to combat the CCP virus. Trump has also secured partnerships with Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi, and GlaxoSmithKline to support the large scale manufacturing of the vaccine candidates. He has also said that the “full power and strength of military” will be behind supporting the logistics of distributing any authorized vaccine “so that everybody can take it.”

“Under Operation Warp Speed, we’ve shaved years off of the time that it takes to develop a vaccine and we’ve done it while maintaining the FDA gold standard for safety,” Trump said in a statement this month.

Mimi Nguyen Ly and Reuters contributed to this report.