CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, seems to have changed his stand on the efficacy and timeline for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the general public after being publicly trashed by President Donald Trump, USAToday reports. The president had been telling the American public that coronavirus vaccines could be available to everyone before the end of the end and even before the November 3 general elections.
But Redfield had told a Senate panel that a vaccine may be ready before December but it cannot be ready for use by all Americans until the fall or summer of 2021 – a comment that contradicts that of Trump. While the president does not practically favor the use of face masks, Redfield also said the mask is more effective against coronavirus than vaccines in given instances, a point that deviates from what the president has been touting all along.
“If I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me,” Redfield had said. “This face mask will. I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”
During a White House briefing a few hours later, Trump told reporters that he called Redfield about his remarks with vaccines and masks and that the latter seemed to have misunderstood the exact questions posed to him. He said he still has confidence in the capability of Redfield to head the CDC but that the man seemed confused with the question of when COVID-19 vaccines will be ready and its effectiveness over face masks.
“I called him – I said, ‘What did you mean by that?’” Trump told reporters. “I think he just made a mistake. I think he misunderstood the question. I got the impression that he didn’t realize he said what he might have said. I believe he was confused.”
The president then drummed it again into the ears of reporters and the American public that “a vaccine is much more effective than the mask” and that vaccines could be ready even by October and that all Americans will be administered immediately when it becomes available. CDC Director Redfield then took to Twitter a few hours after Trump had spoken to reporters to say he believes in vaccines and masks – in varying order of preference.
“I 100% believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a #COVID19 vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine is a thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life,” Redfield wrote. “The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, and being careful about crowds.”