Trump contradicts virus vaccine expert

US health agencies have revealed plans to provide free coronavirus vaccines across the country.
US health agencies have revealed plans to provide free coronavirus vaccines across the country.

US President Donald Trump is predicting at least 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine could be distributed in by the end of 2020, contradicting a top government health official he says is confused.

Hours earlier, Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a COVID-19 vaccine could be broadly rolled out by the middle of next year or a little later.

"No, I think he made a mistake when he said that," Trump said on Wednesday, telling reporters he'd called Redfield.

"That's incorrect information. I believe he was confused. I think he just misunderstood the question, probably."

Redfield, head of the federal government's disease control agency, made his comments in testimony before a US Senate panel.

He said general availability of a vaccine could come by "late second quarter, third quarter 2021".

A vaccine could be ready as soon as this November or December, Redfield said, adding that limited first doses could go to those who were most vulnerable.

But "in order to have enough of us immunised to have immunity, I think it's going to take six to nine months", he added.

Australian Associated Press