Biden Supports Free Coronavirus Tests And Vaccines For Undocumented Immigrants

TOPLINE

After President Donald Trump claimed earlier in the day that a vaccine for the coronavirus could be ready before Election Day, Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that in addition to free Covid-19 testing, "every person in the country, whether they're undocumented or documented, should have access to a vaccine if and when it occurs."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the ... [+]

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KEY FACTS

While being interviewed by the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Biden was explicitly asked about medical benefits to not only DACA recipients but also undocumented immigrants.

He replied that such individuals should have access to a future vaccine and "should have access to testing and treatment and hospitalization, if it relates to the virus."

Biden explained that he supports free coronavirus vaccinations and testing for undocumented immigrants because "it's in the interest of everyone, that everyone be taken care of, and everyone should be able to be eligible for that."

President Trump, appearing on Geraldo Rivera's radio show Thursday morning, was asked if a vaccine could be ready by Nov. 3, to which Trump replied, "I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time."

A few hours later, pressed by reporters on the White House lawn, the president said, "I'm optimistic that it'll be probably around that date. I believe we'll have the vaccine before the end of the year, certainly, but around that date, yes, I think so."

This aggressive timeline contradicts most health experts, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases official, who said earlier this week that drugmakers would likely offer doses of coronavirus vaccines "in the early part of next year."

Key Background:

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Fauci stated he was "cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine that's effective enough to get approved," but declared that such approval would not be the result of any pressure to have a vaccine available in time for the Nov. 3 presidential election. Health regulators have promised "they are not going to let political considerations interfere" with the need to deliver a safe Covid-19 vaccine, Fauci told Reuters. The Trump campaign has previously alleged that Biden is "running on big government socialism, that's what it's called." After Forbes reached out for comment on Biden's proposed plan, a senior HHS administration official advised that "any vulnerable American who needs the vaccine will receive the vaccine regardless of their ability to pay. As part of the FFCRA, PPPHCEA, and CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will provide claims reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19 and treating uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis."

Big Number:

42%: The latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll, conducted July 28 to 30, found that just 42% of Americans plan to get vaccinated for Covid-19.

Tangent:

In the Biden interview that aired Thursday, the former vice president also addressed Trump's much-discussed wall along the southern border. "There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration," Biden vowed. "I'm going to make sure that we have border protection, but it's going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it and at the ports of entry.

Further Reading:

Fauci expects tens of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses at start of 2021 (Reuters)

Yahoo News/YouGov coronavirus poll: Number of Americans who plan to get vaccinated falls to 42% (Yahoo)

Novavax Stock Jumps 8.5% After 'Positive' Early Results For Its Coronavirus Vaccine (Forbes)

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I'm a New York-based news desk reporter for Forbes covering sports, politics and business. Please feel free to contact me via email (tsbeer7 [@] gmail.com) or Twitter

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