CDC chief sees virus vaccine available for public in 2021

Somewhat tempering the optimism of President Donald Trump, top federal health experts told Senators on Wednesday that while great strides are being made to develop a vaccine against the Coronavirus, it may not be ready for public distribution until the middle of next year.

“You’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public,” Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said at a Senate hearing. “I think we’re probably looking at late second quarter, early third quarter, 2021.”

Redfield said he expected the first doses of the vaccine to come out - if testing continues on pace - in November or December.

But the CDC chief acknowledged there would be what he labeled a ‘very limited supply’ which would be prioritized for those in need of that defense.

At the same hearing, Dr. Redfield implored Americans to wear a mask, going so far as to say that masks could be more important in the short term than a Coronavirus vaccine.

“Face masks - these face masks - are the most important powerful health tool we have,” said Redfield, as he held his face mask at the witness table before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I’ve said if we did it for six, eight, ten, twelve weeks, we would bring this pandemic under control,” Redfield added, saying there is very ‘clear scientific evidence that they work.’

“They are our best defense,” the CDC chief said.

The message on masks was much different than one offered on Tuesday night by President Trump during an ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania.

“There are a lot of people that think masks are not good,” the President said when asked why he rarely wears a mask.

Jamie Dupree, CMG Washington News Bureau

Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau

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