Trump says coronavirus vaccine might be ready by November election

©New York Daily News

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. - Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS

President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine ready to roll by November’s election, offering a far more optimistic timeline than his own public health advisers.

Trump floated the upbeat projection during an appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show after the host asked if a vaccine could be ready for distribution “sooner than November 3.”

“I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time,” Trump responded.

Trump has made vaccine development a political priority, as general election polls show him trailing Joe Biden by double digits, with voters of all political stripes taking issue with his handling of the pandemic.

Talking to reporters on the White House lawn later Thursday, Trump made the political aspect of his vaccine push explicit.

“It wouldn’t hurt,” he said after being asked if he sees the potential for a rapidly developed vaccine as helpful to his campaign.

He then quickly added: “But I’m not doing, I’m doing it not for the election. I want it fast because I want to save a lot of lives.”

The government is pouring billions of dollars into vaccine research, and one candidate has already entered phase three clinical trials.

Still, Trump’s preelection vaccine projection is dubious.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease expert and a senior adviser on the White House coronavirus task force, told lawmakers last week he’s “cautiously optimistic” that researchers will know by the end of 2020 if a vaccine can be ready for distribution next year.

“I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it,” Fauci said.

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©2020 New York Daily News