FACT SHEET: Trump’s Politicization Of COVID-19 Vaccine Development

A majority of voters don’t trust Trump’s comments on a coronavirus vaccine because he has repeatedly politicized vaccine development and contradicted his own health experts to try to cover up for his failed pandemic response and help him win reelection.

Trump framed vaccine development in political terms, while falsely criticizing others for doing so.

  • Trump framed vaccine development in political terms, claiming that Biden would not be able to obtain one in the record time he was and he might not have one at all. In reality, the vaccine development approach Trump touts was previously used by the Obama-Biden administration to develop a vaccine for the H1N1 influenza.

  • Trump touted the speed of vaccine development under his watch as evidence of a strong coronavirus response and his campaign ran ads on Trump’s vaccine development efforts.

  • Trump accused Democrats of criticizing the speed of vaccine development for political reasons and falsely accused them of using anti-vax rhetoric for insisting we listen to the experts.

  • Trump accused the ‘deep state’ of interfering with vaccine development to hurt him politically.

Trump pushed forward his estimated delivery date for a vaccine, contradicting the timeline put forward by experts, and tied it to his reelection.

  • Trump said development of a vaccine before the election “wins the election for me.”

  • As the election neared, Trump sped up his estimate for vaccine delivery, contradicting the timeline put forward by experts and those involved in the vaccine development.

  • Trump pressured health officials to speed up vaccine approvals and insisted any breakthroughs be touted as major announcements ahead of Election Day.

Trump’s own top health officials and vaccine experts have disputed his vaccine timeline.

  • Vaccine experts and administration officials have disputed Trump’s predictions of vaccine availability by Election Day.

  • NIH Director Francis Collins said it was unlikely the FDA would approve a vaccine any earlier than November or December 2020, and Dr. Fauci said he doesn’t think that it’s likely the U.S. will have a vaccine in October.

Trump has repeatedly exaggerated the number of doses that could be available this year, again contradicting his own health experts. 

  • Trump has continually oversold how many doses of a vaccine would be available for Americans once one was approved.

  • Trump’s health experts have said that a vaccine would only be available in limited doses by the beginning of 2021, and Dr. Fauci said it wouldn’t be widely available until “several months” into 2021.