Trump’s Covid-19 Debate Promise Equates 5-9 Years To Vaccinate United States


During the first presidential debate of the 2020 general election, President Donald Trump tried to reassure viewers of his Covid-19 response by promising that he was ready to distribute a vaccine: “We have all the military in place. Logistically, they are all configured. We have our troops delivering soldiers and they can deliver 200,000 a day. They will deliver the vaccine. “

In reality, that would be a derisory amount of vaccine distribution. At a rate of 200,000 immunizations per day, it would take more than 1,650 days – nearly five years – to immunize the entire country. If everyone needed two doses, which could be the case with the first generation of vaccines, it would take over nine years.

Presumably, Trump said the military would play an additional role in other efforts, with hospitals, family doctors, pharmacies and others distributing the vaccine alongside the military. But if the military piece is truly the culmination of Trump’s plan, the math shows it’s so small it shouldn’t reassure anyone.

Trump has also claimed the United States will have a vaccine in the coming weeks, echoing previous comments he has made that a vaccine will be ready in October. In the past, he has also claimed that the vaccine will be available to everyone quickly – what he called “full distribution”. He repeated that last night, saying, “Well, we’re going to deliver it right now.”

If you talk to experts, including some in the Trump administration, they don’t agree with Trump’s assessment in all areas. It is possible, if not likely, that we will get a vaccine by the end of the year, but October is far too early for the necessary ongoing trials to end, with November or December much more likely.


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