Speed Reads

I really don't care do u?

Trump hits the FDA over COVID-19 vaccine safety delays, but voters don't care if it's ready by Election Day

"A chicken in every pot and a vaccine by Election Day!" That's how Politico paraphrases President Trump's election pitch, plus a chicken. Trump keeps promising a pre-election COVID-19 vaccine, "even though his own top health officials, including the former drug company executive leading his Operation Warp Speed vaccine initiative, have said again and again they are highly dubious of his rosy timeline," Politico notes. The public has noticed, and their faith in the safety of a vaccine has dropped accordingly.

The top vaccine developers have responded the apparent politicization of the COVID-19 inoculation by releasing their typically private blueprints to their vaccine safety and approval process, and the Food and Drug Administration is reportedly preparing to issue stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a vaccine. Trump was asked about the FDA's plans on Wednesday, and he did not seem pleased. "That has to be approved by the White House," he said. "We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move. ... I think that was a political move more than anything else."

Still, "if Trump thinks an October vaccine is the key to his election, he may be the one who gets a surprise," Politico reports, citing a new poll conducted with the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health. It turns out, "getting a vaccine before Election Day would have virtually no effect on how likely voters cast their ballots," Politico says. "That's what 84 percent of voters favoring Trump say, along with 89 percent of those supporting Joe Biden." Roughly equal numbers say a pre-election vaccine would make them more likely (7 percent) and less likely (6 percent) to vote for Trump.

The Politico/Harvard poll surveyed 1,459 likely voters via phone from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6, and its margin of error is ± 3 percentage points.