Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday accused Senator Kamala Harris of “playing politics with people’s lives” by saying that she would not take a vaccine for the coronavirus if it was endorsed by President Trump.
During Wednesday evening’s vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Harris said she would take a vaccine if it were approved by “public health professionals” including Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor for the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, but not if Trump signed off on it.
“If the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”
Pence immediately condemned the California senator’s position, saying she could be endangering lives by casting doubt on the efficacy of a potential vaccine against the deadly pathogen.
“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable,” Pence responded.
“Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives,” the vice president said.
In June, Fauci said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine for the coronavirus will be available to the American public by the end of the year or early 2021.
“The reality is that we will have a vaccine, we believe, before the end of this year,” Pence continued at the debate. “And it will have the capacity to save countless American lives. And your continuous undermining of confidence in a vaccine is just unacceptable.”