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Joe Biden said at an ABC town hall Thursday night that he would take a potential coronavirus vaccine if one became available by the end of the year "if the body of scientists" says it's ready.

Why it matters: Biden and others have expressed fears that the Trump administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine.

Biden also said he would be open to making a safe vaccine mandatory depending on its efficacy, how much the virus is spreading and "when it comes out and how it's being distributed."

  • But he acknowledged that as president, he wouldn't be able to enforce such a mandate. "That's the problem," Biden said. "You can't say, 'Everyone has to do this.'"
  • Instead, he said he would encourage governors and local officials to tell their constituents to get the vaccine.

What he's saying: "The point is that if the scientists, if the body of scientists say that this is what is ready to be done and it's been tested, they've gone through the three phases, yes, I would take it and I'd encourage people to take it."

  • Biden said he meets with leading scientists several times a week to be briefed on the potential vaccine: "They're not there yet. And most scientists say, it's not likely to have a vaccine that would be available until the beginning of next year, into the spring of next year."

Go deeper ... Biden: "I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump"

Go deeper

Jan 22, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives

President Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci acknowledged on CNN's "New Day" Friday that the Trump administration's resistance to following the science on coronavirus policy "very likely" cost lives.

Why it matters: Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, clashed on numerous occasions with former President Trump after contradicting him on scientific issues like the efficacy of masks and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in combating COVID-19.

Florida requiring proof of residency to get coronavirus vaccine

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a health care worker at a drive-thru site at Tropical Park on Jan. 13 in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's surgeon general issued new guidelines on Thursday requiring people seeking COVID-19 vaccines to provide proof of permanent or seasonal residency.

Driving the news: Of the more than 1 million people who have received the first dose of the vaccine in Florida as of Wednesday, over 39,000 reside out of state, per data from the Florida Department of Health. The number and reports of out-of-state recipients have caused concern over what many have described as "vaccine tourism."

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.