Mark Meadows Dismisses CDC's COVID Vaccine Timeline, Says Those 'Closest to the Process' Know More

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows joined President Donald Trump in dismissing the vaccine timeline provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

Meadows told reporters that Redfield does not have the same knowledge about a potential COVID-19 vaccine as those "closest to the process."

"While Dr. Redfield might have a timeline in mind, to my knowledge, he hasn't had intimate discussions with those processes," Meadows said Thursday. "He may be referring to a timeline that he published, I'm not aware of that. But I can tell you that timeline is not consistent with what I have had personal interaction with."

Redfield, who has been a key health expert leading the nation's coronavirus response, told a Senate panel on Wednesday that while a vaccine may be available as early as November, it was unlikely to to be distributed to the general public until the second or third quarter of 2021.

Meadows disputed the doctor's proposed timeline, saying the Trump administration would have 100 million vials to cover a large portion of the public by October, especially "the vast majority of those at risk," and the remainder by the beginning of next year.

"The wide distribution of 100 million doses is a one-third of the population," he said.

"What we're shooting for is to try and make sure we have 100 million doses in that first traunch. That 100 million doses is the benchmark that we've set. From there, there would be a second traunch that would get us up to the 300 million plus doses. That timeline for the 300 million is set as a January timeline," he added.

Mark Meadows
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to members of the press outside the West Wing of the White House on August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Thursday, Meadows disputed CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield's COVID-19 vaccine timeline. Alex Wong/Getty

Meadows continued to contradict Redfield's knowledge of a feasible timeline, noting that the state agency does not play a role in vaccine development.

"The CDC is not developing the vaccine," Meadows said. "It's actual different pharmaceutical companies and we're working with different groups than the CDC... to actually look at the deployment and distribution of that."

When asked about Redfield's testimony, Trump told reporters that Redfield "made a mistake."

"I think he was confused," Trump said on Wednesday. He insisted a vaccine would be made available by the end of the year.

Meadows said the president is "making sure that every single minute of every single day is there to develop a cure."

Meadows also disputed Redfield's comments on face coverings. The CDC director earlier described masks as "the most important, powerful public health tool we have," adding that they may be a better way to fight the coronavirus than a vaccine.

"I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine," Redfield said Wednesday.

Meadows said he would "gladly" wear a mask if it could reopen the economy.

"If that's the way that we open back our economy and get everybody back to work, I will gladly wear my mask each and every day — if that's what makes the difference, but it doesn't," he said.

Newsweek reached out to the CDC for comment, but did not hear back before publication.