Birx says she’s hopeful about coronavirus vaccine but urges people to ‘do the right thing today’
White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said Sunday that she is optimistic about the prospect of a vaccine for COVID-19 being developed by the end of 2020, but cautioned Americans should “do the right thing” until one is released.
CNN reports that Birx made the remarks Sunday at an event in Minneapolis, where she explained that it was important for Americans to “do the right thing today, [so that] we go into the fall with much fewer cases.”
“Yes, I’m hopeful for a vaccine,” Birx said, according to CNN. “But I’m also very convinced right now that we can stop community spread by wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding crowds.”
“Right now, we gain freedom through wearing our masks and socially distancing. With a vaccine, it’s a very different potential interaction for all of us,” she added.
Numerous U.S. companies and others around the world are at work developing a vaccine for COVID-19; one effort by drugmaker Moderna was found last month to have successfully induced an immune response in all volunteers taking part in an early-stage trial, according to results published in a medical journal.
Other officials including Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus response team, have called the prospect of a vaccine being available before the end of 2020 unlikely.
If production was started by the summer, he told The Hill earlier this year, “you could have 100 million doses by the end of the year and maybe a couple of hundred million doses by the beginning of next year.”
“I mean that’s aspirational,” he said at the time. “The companies think that they can do that with the right financial backing.”
President Trump told radio host Geraldo Rivera in early August that he thought a vaccine could be ready for distribution right around Election Day.
“I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time,” he said, when asked if a vaccine would be ready by Nov. 3.
“We have great companies,” Trump added. “The rest of the world is also doing vaccines, so let’s see how they do.”