President Donald Trump has made his “America First” agenda a central aspect of his first term in office.
He continued that tradition on Tuesday by signing an executive order guaranteeing American citizens are first in line to receive a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s somewhat of a miracle”
The president issued his order at a vaccine summit, vowing to ensure that “American citizens have first priority” when inoculation against the virus becomes available.
He touted his administration’s “monumental” success in funding the development of a vaccine through Operation Warp Speed, citing the recent promising results from multiple pharmaceutical firms working on the task.
“They say it’s somewhat of a miracle and I think that’s true,” Trump said.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of their respective vaccines.
Other candidates are reportedly also in consideration, and Trump said on Tuesday that “tens of millions” of doses are on track to be distributed later this month. He urged governors across the nation to prioritize administering the vaccine to healthcare workers, the elder, and those with underlying medical conditions.
“A position nobody would have believed possible”
Noting that the first vaccines are just “days away,” he said the government would “immediately begin distribution” through 50,000 designated sites.
“Every American who wants the vaccine will be able to get the vaccine and we think by spring we’re going to be in a position nobody would have believed possible just a few months ago,” he said.
Trump was asked to address the reason Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s transition team was not invited to attend the event, to which he responded: “We’re going to have to see who the next administration is.”
Alluding to earlier claims that Democrats stole last month’s election and his ongoing efforts to reverse the apparent outcome, the president called progress on the vaccine front “incredible,” promising that it “will be incredible for the next administration and hopefully the next administration will be the Trump administration.”
In a statement on Monday, an official referred to Trump’s order and indicated that the “excess supply with either be donated, or we’ll begin to work with partnering companies and countries to make sure we have the ability to help them.”