The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention walked back his comments stating that face masks probably offer better protection from coronavirus than a vaccine.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield made the assertion during his Senate testimony Wednesday, only to be publicly disputed by President Trump before eventually clarifying his remarks on Twitter later on.
“I 100% believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a #COVID19 vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life,” Redfield wrote.
“The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds,” he added in a second tweet.
Earlier during his testimony, Redfield said he “might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me than the vaccine because the immunogenicity might only be 70 percent and if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me.”
“This mask will,” he testified.
Redfield went on to say the public won’t receive a potential vaccine until summer 2021.
Trump, who has aggressively been touting a forthcoming vaccine though a timeline is still unclear, told reporters he believed Redfield “made a mistake” during his testimony.
“We’ll be able to distribute at least 100 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020 and a large number much sooner than that,” Trump said. “Under no circumstance will it be as late as the doctor said.”
He added that he called Redfield to raise questions about his remarks.
“When I called up Robert today, I said to him, ‘What’s with the mask?’ He said, ‘I think I answered that question incorrectly.’ I think maybe he misunderstood it, I mean you know, you have two questions — maybe misunderstood both of them.”
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