Joe Biden has accused Donald Trump and the White House of speeding up the coronavirus vaccine for political purposes, adding the American people should not trust the administration.
Speaking during a town hall event on Wednesday, the Democratic presidential candidate said: “I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump. And at this moment, the American people can’t either.
“Scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does,” he added. “They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles. And their timing, their approval, and their distribution should never, ever be distorted by political considerations.”
A reporter asked Mr Biden why the public should trust him if he were elected, as he has consistently said for voters question the sitting president’s actions when it comes to the pandemic.
“I’m saying trust the scientists. Trust the scientists,” he said. “It’s one thing for Donald Trump to say the vaccine is safe. OK. Then give it to the board of scientists. Have total transparency.”
These comments come as Mr Trump and Republicans have accused the presidential challenger and the Democratic Party of boasting an anti-vaccine rhetoric in the last couple of months as multiple coronavirus vaccine trials enter Phase 3.
Mr Trump earlier this months called on Mr Biden and other members of the Democratic Party to “immediately apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric that they’re talking right now.”
During his town hall, Mr Biden conceded that he would trust and take the coronavirus vaccine if the president could answer these questions to the American public: “What criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness? If the administration green lights a vaccine, who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics? What group of scientists will that be? How can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place safely, cost-free, and without a hint of favoritism?”
Then, if the president were able to answer those questions, Mr Biden conceded that “absolutely” himself and the rest of the public should take the vaccine.
Distrust in the vaccine has emerged as Mr Trump has pushed for one to start its roll out to the public prior to the November election, causing concern that politics was driving distribution decisions.
In an interview with Fox & Friends on Tuesday, Mr Trump claimed a vaccine could be ready in a matter of weeks.
“We’re going to have a vaccine in a matter of weeks, it could be four weeks it could be eight weeks … will it be before the election, it could be … we’ll start delivering it immediately upon getting it,” he said.
This heightened table only further increased speculation that politics was placing a role.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr Robert Redfield discredited the president’s timeline when speaking before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday.
“If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third – late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” Dr Redfield said.