US President Donald Trump did not announce a coronavirus vaccine was 'ready'

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A video of US President Donald Trump and a top US pharmaceutical executive speaking at a press conference has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts alongside a claim that it shows them announcing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was "ready" to be administered. The claim is false; neither Trump nor the pharmaceutical executive make any reference to a vaccine being "ready" for distribution; as of March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) states there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19.

The video was published on Facebook here on March 19, 2020. The post has since been viewed more than 7,500 times.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:
 

The caption reads: “Great news! Carona virus vaccine ready. Able to cure patient within 3 hours after injection. Hats off to US Scientists. Right now Trump announced that Roche Medical Company will launch the vaccine next Sunday, and millions of doses are ready from it !!!" 

COVID-19 has killed more than 18,589 people and infected more than 416,686 others worldwide, according to data from the WHO on March 26, 2020.

The video was also shared alongside the same claim on Facebook here; on Twitter here and here; and on YouTube here.

The claim is false.

Trump does not mention that a COVID-19 vaccine is ready to be administered in the clip or in the entire March 13 press conference, footage of which was published on the White House’s official YouTube channel here

In the clip, Matt Sause, Roche’s North America CEO and president, thanks US regulators for approving his company’s COVID-19 tests and says he is working with federal agencies to deliver the tests to patients nationwide. The company claimed that the tests could provide results in three and a half hours. 

In the full press conference, Trump makes reference to a vaccine only once, saying that experts are working on developing “a vaccine, which takes a little bit longer because of the test periods and a couple of other reasons.”

While Roche and pharmaceutical companies worldwide are working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, it has not yet been approved by national or international health bodies.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states here that there “currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” The WHO states the same here

“To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019,” the WHO states.