'We can’t control that price’: Trump HHS secretary won’t promise a coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for all
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar listens to U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduce him during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

As the coronavirus quickly marches toward officially becoming a pandemic, the Trump administration is working hard to give the appearance they are managing the crisis. On Wednesday Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar repeated President Donald Trump's claim that a vaccine for the deadly, quick-spreading virus would be ready soon. Trump had actually appeared to suggest "very soon," which is false.


But soon or very soon, it won't be either for everyone.

Experts agree a coronavirus vaccine won't be ready for the general population more than a year. And while many would assume that would mean it would be available for everyone, HHS Secretary Azar has something different in mind.

What Sec. Azar has in mind should come as no surprise, given that Azar once was president of a top major pharmaceutical company, a division of Eli Lilly and Company.

Here's U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) questioning Secretary Azar Wednesday, only to find out the Trump administration will not ensure a coronavirus vaccine is affordable to all.

SCHAKOWSKY: "You're saying that it will, for sure, be affordable for anyone who needs it."

AZAR: "I'm saying we would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can't control that price, because we need the private sector to invest...Price controls won't get us there."

In other words, the companies that can create vaccines fast enough get to set the prices. And Azar is saying the federal government will not make sure everyone can afford it.