President Donald Trump has claimed doctors working on a coronavirus vaccine are the same that produced a non-existent Aids vaccine.
During a White House briefing – which was ostensibly held for him to discuss his executive order on police reform – Mr Trump made a prediction that some kind of coronavirus remedy would be available by the end of the year.
“Before the end of the year I predict we will have a very successful vaccine, therapeutic and cure,” he said.
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“We’re making tremendous progress. I deal with these incredible scientists, doctors very closely,” he said.
Mr Trump praised the scientists, and then mistakenly credited them for a non-existent Aids vaccine.
“I have great respect for their minds. They have come up with things. They’ve come up with many other cures and therapeutics over the years,” Mr Trump said. “They’ve come up with the Aids vaccine.”
Apparently realising his mistake, he added: “Or, the Aids, and the – as you know – there’s various things, and now various companies are involved and the therapeutic for Aids. Aids was a death sentence and now people live a life with a pill,” Mr Trump said.
While there is currently no vaccine or cure for Aids, the development of anti-retroviral drugs has succeeded in slowing the disease and prolonging the lives of patients.
On the same day, White House officials pledged to make any future Covid-19 vaccines free to “vulnerable” Americans who could not afford the treatment.
“For any American who is vulnerable, who cannot afford the vaccines, and desires the vaccine, we will provide it for free,” an anonymous Trump administration official said on a conference call with journalists.
According to Stat News, officials on the call also said that insurance companies were discussing covering the cost of vaccines at no cost to their beneficiaries and that – once a vaccine becomes available – the government will use a tiered distribution approach, prioritising high-risk individuals and frontline medical workers before a wider vaccine release to the general public.
In a break from Mr Trump’s predictions, the officials on the call stressed that they could not guarantee a vaccine by the end of the year.
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