Following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine through an emergency use authorization, it is important to look back at all the media outlets who insisted the world wouldn’t see a vaccine before the end of 2020.
President Donald Trump in the fall began saying a vaccine was coming soon, so media outlets rushed to claim he was lying, citing “experts.” NBC News even took the step to “fact check” Trump’s prediction, one of the numerous ways so-called fact checks have been weaponized against Trump.
“Fact check: Coronavirus vaccine could come this year, Trump says. Experts say he needs a ‘miracle’ to be right,” read NBC’s headline on May 15. The outlet decided to fact check Trump’s suggestion that a coronavirus vaccine could come by the end of year thanks to his administration’s expedited timeline for such a vaccine.
NBC then sought out experts to contradict Trump, such as Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Offit said a vaccine wouldn’t be ready until “the middle or end of next year.” Another expert, Dr. Walter Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and a professor at Emory University, told the outlet it would take a “miracle” for the vaccine to come out in less than a year. Numerous other experts said something similar.
But they were all wrong.
On September 16, NPR pointed out that Trump, “contradicting the CDC,” said a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of 2020. The next day, another NPR article featured the transcript of one of its programs knocking Trump for suggesting the vaccine would be ready by the end of the year. The outlet used testimony from CDC Director Robert Redfield before a Senate panel that month, in which he said the vaccine would not be ready until the spring or summer of 2021.
CNBC on October 22 posted its version of the same article, with the headline: “President Trump says Covid-19 vaccine will be coming by the end of the year, despite contrary evidence.” The article featured footage from the presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden in which NBC News’ Kristen Welker noted Trump administration health experts saying a vaccine wouldn’t be ready until 2021 and asking Trump if his predictions were “realistic.”
It turns out, they were.
Shortly after the 2020 election, Pfizer and Moderna announced their vaccines were shown to be highly effective against the coronavirus in stage three trials. As The Daily Wire reported on Friday, the FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine through an emergency use authorization.
“Under the emergency authorization, high-priority Americans will begin receiving the first of two inoculations against COVID-19, possibly within hours, according to previous remarks made by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. The CDC expects Pfizer to have 25 million doses available this month,” The Daily Wire’s Eric Quintanar reported.