Day 1,212: After four months, Trump finally unveils a coronavirus vaccine plan

As the U.S. hurtles near 90,000 deaths from the coronavirus and a total of 1.5 million people infected, the Trump administration has lagged behind in virtually every area of response imaginable.

So Friday, as many other countries dealing with the pandemic are back to nearly full speed, and four months into his response time, Donald Trump touted his latest grand plan: a public-private partnership to develop a vaccine.

President Trump expressed optimism on Friday about the timeline and success of a coronavirus vaccine on Friday, as he announced new top officials to lead “Operation Warp Speed” intended to develop and identify an effective vaccine. Moncef Slaoui and General Gustave Perna will lead the federal government’s effort to develop and distribute a vaccine as quickly as possible.

The president told reporters in the White House Rose Garden he thinks they’re going to have a vaccine in the “pretty near future,” by the end of the year. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also said a vaccine should be available to the public by January.

Experts, however, say it will likely take another year — possibly more— to develop an effective and widely available vaccine.

For his part, Trump has already weighed in on a vaccine timeline. In March, he claimed a vaccine may only be months away.

Trump was asked about a timeline for a vaccine during the Cabinet Room meeting with pharmaceutical executives and members of his task force.

“I don’t know what the time will be. I’ve heard very quick numbers, that of months. And I’ve heard pretty much a year would be an outside number. So I think that’s not a bad range. But if you’re talking about three to four months in a couple of cases, a year in other cases,” Trump said.

Ironically, Trump has been a vaccine skeptic for much of his life.

1,212 days in, 250 to go

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.