Trump Official Won’t Make Promise That Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable For All
President Donald Trump held a press conference with health officials on Wednesday evening, seeking to assure the American public that the coronavirus outbreak across the world would be dealt with properly in the United States.
Trump promised that a vaccine for the virus was “coming along very well.” However, officials at the same press conference said that it would be a “year to a year and a half” before a viable vaccine would be available to the public, Fox News reported.
However, whenever a vaccine does get developed and made available, it’s unclear whether it will be accessible to the public-at-large. That’s because the Trump administration is refusing to promise that the vaccine will be affordable.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, speaking to Congress on Wednesday, said that a vaccine for coronavirus wouldn’t have a set price — and furthermore, that the administration wouldn’t make any attempts to reduce a price for the vaccine in order to allow everyone access to it, Business Insider reported.
“We would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest. Price controls won’t get us there,” Azar said.
Democrats were quick to criticize Azar’s comments.
Here's the clip of Azar not assuring Rep. Schakowsky a covid-19 vaccine will be affordable to all. pic.twitter.com/Z8aNd4wLWj
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) February 26, 2020
“Secretary Azar is refusing to promise that a Coronavirus vaccine will be affordable to every American. Kick them out of office,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said on Twitter.
Ensuring that as many people as possible get access to a vaccine is important to combat any virus. Each virus is different, but a “herd immunity” threshold is necessary in order to combat a disease effectively within a given community, typically around a 95 percent vaccination rate in most situations.
With higher costs of a vaccine, efforts at achieving that rate could be compromised, leaving vulnerable those who didn’t get it or those who cannot get it if they do not have developed immune systems.
There is a split within the Trump administration over whether the virus will reach “community spread” in the United States or not, but Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said that situation is likely inevitable, the Washington Post reported.
“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in the United States,” Messonnier said recently. “It’s not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses.”