Former United States Vice President Joe Biden on Friday announced his plans to provide free vaccination against the coronavirus to all Americans if he wins the November 3 presidential elections, reported CNN. His remarks came a day after the final presidential debate, during which Trump claimed that his government will release a vaccine against the coronavirus “within weeks”.

“Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, it has to be free to everyone, whether or not you’re insured,” the Democratic presidential nominee said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware in the United States. Biden said that if elected, he would instruct the federal government to “bulk-purchase as many doses as necessary of the Covid-19 vaccine” so that it can be provided for free to those who cannot afford it.

Biden also said that he would make masks mandatory in states, and put in place a national testing strategy and increase the production and distribution of personal protective equipment. The Democratic presidential candidate also refuted Trump’s claim that a vaccine would be ready “within weeks”, and said that it would take “many months”.

He further said that the US needed a president who would be able to ensure the vaccine was distributed “in a way that’s equitable and accountable”. Biden criticised Trump for trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic. The American president has claimed he will overturn the Act, also called Obamacare, but has been unable to offer a comprehensive replacement plan.

“Under the ACA, insurers are required to cover recommended vaccines for free, so overturning the ACA would mean people have to pay to get a Covid-19 vaccine,” Biden said. The presidential candidate has claimed he will introduce laws to fight the pandemic after his inauguration, if he won the election.

With just two weeks until elections, Trump and Biden met on the stage on Friday for the last presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee. In response to the first question of the night on coronavirus, Trump claimed 2.2 million people were “expected to die”, and the pandemic was “rounding the turn”, although he did not provide any studies or figures to back his claim.

However, Biden said that Americans were “learning to die” with Covid-19. “President Trump said we’re rounding the corner, it’s going away, we’re learning to live with it,” he said, according to AFP. “They are quotes. But as I told him last night, we’re not learning to live with it. We’re learning to die with it. This is a dark winter ahead.”

On Friday, Trump also claimed that he was “immune” because he had recovered from Covid-19. Studies have yet to establish whether being infected with Covid-19 leads to future immunity.

The United States is the worst-affected country due to the pandemic, with 84,92,569 cases recorded so far. The toll in the country stood at 2,23,987.

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Coronavirus vaccine expected ‘within weeks’, claims Donald Trump in final US presidential debate