Fact-checking Donald Trump’s predictions regarding COVID vaccine availability

From September 18, 2020, an Unscientific American who was “without evidence” and who contradicted “experts”:

From the linked-to article

President Trump said Friday that every American would have access to a coronavirus vaccine by April, contradicting his own statement of two days earlier and sowing deeper confusion about the process and timing of vaccine approval and distribution.

When Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said earlier in the week that the general public was unlikely to get access to a vaccine until the second and third quarters of 2021, echoing other scientific leaders in the administration, Trump said he’d misspoken.

“I think he made a mistake with that statement,” Trump said Wednesday. “When he said it, I believe he was confused. I’m just telling you we’re ready to go.”

Trump then said a vaccine would be ready in weeks and swiftly made available, despite the fact that no one knows yet when sufficient data will be collected from clinical trials to show that one of the vaccines in late-stage trials is effective or safe.

What do we have from science-guided leadership (and we are assured that leadership is important in determining COVID-19 death rate)? “Biden announces April 19 deadline to make all adults eligible for Covid vaccine” (NBC):

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that all adults in the U.S. should be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine by April 19 … The new deadline to expand eligibility — which is two weeks earlier than Biden had previously targeted — should not be difficult to meet since several states have already begun administering the vaccine to anyone over 16 who wants it.

“The virus is spreading because we have too many people who see the end in sight think we are at the finish line already,” Biden said. “Let me be deadly earnest with you, we aren’t finished. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life and death race against this virus. Until we get more people vaccinated we need everyone to wash their hands, socially distance and mask up.”

Asked why Biden was announcing the new timeframe when nearly every state has already moved up eligibility to the April date, Psaki said the president wanted to provide clarity and remind seniors to hurry to get their shots before the lines get long.

In case the “Experts say the president’s latest timeline is nearly impossible to confirm since none of the vaccines in development have been proved effective…” is cut off on mobile, here’s a screen shot from the desktop Twitter:


  • U.S. should approve a saline injection as a Covid-19 vaccine? (my idea from June 2020 that would have reassured a lot of folks)
  • “Italy Pushes Back as Health Care Workers Shun Covid Vaccines” (NYT, March 31): Prime Minister Mario Draghi issued a decree requiring that workers in health care facilities be vaccinated, a move that will test the legal limits of his government’s efforts to stem coronavirus outbreaks. … “Unfortunately there is huge part of doctors who are deeply ignorant,” said Mr. Burioni [a virologist with a Ph.D., but not a “Dr.” like Dr. Jill Biden, M.D.], who suggested that perhaps “the selection process for bringing people to gain a medical degree and then the medical license is not effective enough.” … Salvatore Giuffrida, the director of the hospital, Europe’s fourth largest, said he favored a vaccination requirement because it would also keep medical workers healthy and would strengthen defensive lines as a brutal third wave spreads through northern Italy.

10 thoughts on “Fact-checking Donald Trump’s predictions regarding COVID vaccine availability

  1. Did Joe Biden say this “without evidence” or is that something that is solely attributed to Trump?

    • TS: You should know better than to ask. Uncle Joe never says anything without evidence and he always #FollowsScience and listens to the experts!

  2. True prophet Donald John son of Fred Trump.
    Is there second coming of him?

  3. Reading comprehension test?

    “Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April,” Trump said.

    President Joe Biden said Tuesday that all adults in the U.S. should be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine by April 19

    Vaccinated vs. eligible to be vaccinated = huge difference. And, don’t forget, it’ll be gone by Easter 2020.

  4. “Dr.” Phil cherry-picked one accurate thing Trump said in the last 15 months about Covid. Great research! You must’ve waded through hundreds or thousands of false/inaccurate/misleading statements to find one good one. +1 for your perseverance.
    I think mainstream media/Washington Post were wise to take anything he said with a grain of salt. Especially with him “contradicting his own statement of two days earlier.”

    • Mike: You’re giving me credit for something I didn’t do. While I enjoy that feeling that Barack Obama must have had when receiving the Novel Prize, in truth I did not earn your praise. Trump’s prescient tweet was iMessaged to me… by a physician friend (i.e., a “real doctor”!).

      But Trump may ultimately prove to have been smarter about COVID-19 than the typical credentialed public health expert. Trump’s instinct was that it wasn’t worth shutting down everyday life in the hope that humans could be in charge of the virus. He’s not an MD or PhD like the 55,000+ who signed https://gbdeclaration.org/ , but he came to their point of view about six months before they did.

  5. Trump at the presidential debate in late Oct 2020 on the timeline for the vaccine: “it’s going to be announced within weeks.” Cue the scorn and disbelief from media and Democrats (but I repeat myself).

    Biden in the same debate: “no prospect” of a vaccine for Americans before mid-2021.

    The first vaccine in the US was administered in early December 2020 – within weeks of the debate.

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