On Wednesday, Alex Azar, the Trump administration’s Health and Human Services Secretary declined to promise that a coronavirus vaccine would be something that all Americans could afford.
“We would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” Azar stated during a congressional hearing about the outbreak of the deadly virus and the Trump administrations budget request. “Price controls won’t get us there.”
Here's the clip of Azar not assuring Rep. Schakowsky a covid-19 vaccine will be affordable to all. pic.twitter.com/Z8aNd4wLWj
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) February 26, 2020
After the hearing, Democrats and other critics condemned Azar’s statements.
“Secretary Azar is refusing to promise that a Coronavirus vaccine will be affordable to every American. Kick them out of office,” Sen. Brian Schatz posted to Twitter on Wednesday.
“This is a global health crisis, and everyone should have the right to medication that will help protect them from this virus,” tweeted Center for American Progress.
WATCH: @SecAzar refuses to promise that the coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for any American who needs it.
Shameful. This is a global health crisis, and everyone should have the right to medication that will help protect them from this virus.pic.twitter.com/njcglpT8i1
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) February 26, 2020
The government is not the only one working as quickly as possible to create a vaccine. Private researchers are also working diligently to create a vaccine. Right now, it appears that the vaccine is months away.
Experts state that right now the best preventative is thoroughly washing your hands.
Donald Trump asked Congress for $2.5 billion on Monday to fight the coronavirus. Reportedly, more than $1 billion of that funding will go to the effort to create a vaccine. Leaders within the Democratic party called Trump’s funding request “anemic” and “inadequate.”
So far, there have been 60 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States. Trump was also criticized for stating during a press conference that there were 15 cases of the virus in the U.S. The virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 has killed close to 2,800 people since December. The majority of deaths have been in China.
The United States has seen confirmed cases of the virus in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and Wisconsin.