U.S. Senator Chris Murphy will be in West Haven Friday for a discussion on the town's plans for disseminating a COVID-19 vaccine in the future.
Murphy; Joe Soto, the emergency management director and PHEP Coordinator; Neil Cavallaro, superintendent of West Haven; State Representative Dorinda Borer; State Senator James Maroney; and Lou Esposito, chief of staff for Mayor Rossi; are participating in the discussion.
Just when a safe vaccine will be available has been at the center of the presidential election.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly contradicted the government's top health experts and predicted that a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready as early as next month and in mass distribution soon after, undermining the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and calling him "confused” in projecting a longer time frame.
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Trump also disagreed with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield about the effectiveness of protective masks — which the president recommends but almost never wears — and said he'd telephoned Redfield to tell him so.
Earlier in the day, the CDC sent all 50 states a “playbook” for distribution of a vaccine to all Americans free of cost when one is proven safe and effective — which is not yet the case.
Redfield said during a congressional hearing that health care workers, first responders and others at high risk would get the vaccine first, perhaps in January or even late this year, but it was unlikely to be available more broadly, again assuming approval, before late spring or summer.
He floated the possibility that a vaccine might be 70% effective in inducing immunity, and said, "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.”
Trump responded, “Vaccine is much more effective than the mask."
As for vaccinating Americans, Trump said Wednesday, “We think we can start sometime in October." One of his recently added advisers, Dr. Scott Atlas, said as many as 700 million doses could be available by the end of March.
Former CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, said he was concerned about political pressure on the science of the coronavirus pandemic.
Frieden told “CBS This Morning” that FDA and the CDC have been "unduly influenced by politics, when it comes to the emergency approvals, when it comes to recommendations.”
He said it was “very problematic, because we want to have a safe, effective, acceptable and trusted vaccine.”
On Wednesday night, after Trump’s comments, CDC officials initially sent an email claiming Redfield thought he was answering a question about when vaccination of all Americans would be completed. But then they called back that statement, and did not immediately provide additional comment.
The entire vaccine enterprise faces continued public skepticism. Only about half of Americans said they’d get vaccinated in an Associated Press-NORC poll taken in May. Since then, questions have only mounted about whether the government is trying to rush treatments and vaccines to help Trump’s reelection chances.