Harris on getting any COVID-19 vaccine before election: 'I would not trust Donald Trump'

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump and Biden vie for Minnesota | Early voting begins in four states | Blue state GOP governors back Susan Collins Kamala Harris: Black Americans have been 'disproportionately harmed' by Trump Biden town hall draws 3.3 million viewers for CNN MORE said she would not take President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE’s word about the efficacy of a potential coronavirus vaccine released before the November election.

In an interview with CNN set to air in full on Sunday, the California senator said she was not confident that health officials would get the “last word” on the effectiveness of a vaccine.

“If past is prologue that they will not. They’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days, and he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend that he’s been a leader on this issue when he’s not,” she said.

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“I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about,” she added.

The remarks come amid concerns that the administration is pushing for a vaccine to be produced prior to Election Day to boost the president’s reelection bid. CNN reported Thursday that Trump has pressured officials to accelerate the development of a vaccine to portray the sense that the end of  the COVID-19 pandemic is near. 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also asked state governors last week to fast-track applications for building permits for vaccine distribution sites that would be up and running in early November before Election Day.

Polling has shown voters remain skeptical of Trump’s word on a coronavirus vaccine, with only 14 percent in a Politico-Morning Consult survey last month saying that that’d be more likely to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if the president recommended it.

By comparison, 46 percent said they’d take one on the advice of their family, while 43 percent said they would on the advice of the CDC or Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: CDC reverses controversial testing guidance | Billions more could be needed for vaccine distribution | Study examines danger of in-flight COVID-19 transmission Trump claims enough COVID-19 vaccines will be ready for every American by April Gates says travel ban made COVID-19 worse in US MORE, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert. 

“Too much of the evidence points to the Trump administration pressuring the [Food and Drug Administration] to approve a vaccine by Election Day to boost the President’s re-election campaign,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg Ginsburg in statement before her death said she wished not to be replaced until next president is sworn in Democrats call for NRA Foundation to be prohibited from receiving donations from federal employees MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement this week, referencing a report from The Washington Post addressing the concerns.

“All Americans want a safe and effective vaccine as soon as possible, but if these important life and death decisions appear political, it will only undermine Americans’ confidence in a vaccine and prolong the pandemic,” he added.

Officials have worked to downplay worries, with Fauci this week suggesting he’d trust health officials if they said a vaccine is safe.

“I mean, I will look at the data, and I would assume, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the case, that a vaccine would not be approved for the American public unless it was indeed both safe and effective. And I keep emphasizing both safe and effective. If that’s the case ... I would not hesitate for a moment to take the vaccine myself and recommend it for my family,” he said.