President Trump said Thursday he would prepare the U.S. military to disburse COVID-19 vaccines when they are ready.
“We’re mobilizing our military and other forces, but we’re mobilizing our military on the basis that we do have a vaccine,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo.
“You know, it’s a massive job to give this vaccine. Our military is now being mobilized so at the end of the year we’re going to be able to give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly,” he added.
Trump said the mobilization process for distributing the virus is “starting now” to get a head start once the vaccine is finished, adding, “We will have a tremendous force because assuming we get it, then you have to distribute it.”
The president announced Wednesday that he would place Army Gen. Gustave Perna as chief operation officer for Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s program targeting a fast development for COVID-19 vaccines.
Trump also said on Thursday that he expects a ready vaccine by the end of 2020. However, projections from the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci cautioned earlier this year that a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has recorded more than 85,000 deaths from the virus since the outbreak hit the nation.
Trump estimated in the interview that there will be a total of more than 100,000 deaths in the country.