The director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health said Tuesday a coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration before December.

“I would think it’s very unlikely, given the timetables and the standards that have to be followed, that you will hear about an emergency use authorization before late November at the earliest,” Dr. Francis Collins said on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Collins, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said it still convenes once a week with Vice President Pence to discuss the pandemic, though President Trump’s engagement with the task force has waned as Election Day approaches.

The NIH director surmised that Trump is using Pence and Dr. Scott Atlas, the White House coronavirus adviser, as intermediaries, though Atlas is not an infectious-diseases expert.

“We have not met with the president in quite some time,” Collins said. “I think the president primarily is getting his information from the vice president, from Dr. Atlas. Obviously it’s a bit of a chaotic time with the election. So yeah, there’s not a direct connection between the task force members and president as there was a few months ago, but this seems to be a different time with different priorities.”

As of Tuesday, the U.S. has roughly 8.2 million coronavirus cases and 220,000 related deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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