'We're Looking at That': Trump Administration Considering Whether COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Free

© AP Photo / Ted S. WarrenPharmacist Michael Witte wears heavy gloves as he opens a frozen package of the potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial, Monday, March 16, 2020
Pharmacist Michael Witte wears heavy gloves as he opens a frozen package of the potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial, Monday, March 16, 2020 - Sputnik International
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US President Donald Trump on Friday suggested to reporters the administration is looking at whether the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to people free of charge.

When asked by a reporter at the White House on whether vaccines should be free, Trump responded, "We're looking at that actually." However, he declined to give his own personal opinion on the matter, according to reports.

The president on Friday also indicated the US government will invest in all the top COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the field of which has been narrowed down to 14. However, that number is expected to be further reduced. The 14 vaccine candidates will undergo additional testing until they are narrowed to six or eight vaccines. Those vaccines will then undergo clinical trials. Officials are hoping that three or four vaccines will be available after final testing is completed. The administration has dubbed the vaccine development program "Operation Warp Speed."

However, there is no guarantee that any of the 14 vaccines will be successful against the deadly respiratory illness. 

“Can I say with 100% certainty? No,” a senior Trump administration official told NBC earlier this month. “There is a reasonable probability that one or more of these vaccines will be successful.”

"We've got countries that are allies - we have some countries, frankly, that are not allies - where we're working very closely together," Trump said during a Friday event in the White House Rose Garden. "We have no ego. Whoever gets it, we think it's great. We're going to work with them. They're going to work with us. Likewise, if we get it, we're going to be working with them."

Trump on Thursday also said that he expects a COVID-19 vaccine to be available by the end of 2020.

"I think we're going to have a vaccine by the end of the year," Trump said at the White House, also predicting that vaccine distribution "will take place almost simultaneously," because the military will be mobilized to help with the task.

The latest data shows that more than 4.6 million cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 307,000 people have died as a result. In the US alone, more than 1.4 million cases have been confirmed, and more than 88,000 people have died from COVID-related causes.

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