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story.lead_photo.caption Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., right, speaks next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

NEW YORK -- The politics of the coronavirus vaccine are complicated, and lawmakers facing difficult elections this fall are working to navigate the delicate issue.

President Donald Trump is escalating his promise for a coronavirus vaccine before Election Day.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said Friday when asked whether he would be willing to take a vaccine released by the administration before the election: "If all the protocols had been followed and the evidence is in, of course, I'd follow science. It doesn't matter when it happens."

"But I would have to look at the science, not Donald Trump. There isn't one single thing I would ever trust from Donald Trump to be true," Inslee told The Associated Press.

Inslee's comments are in line with a growing consensus of Democrats in leadership positions, including the party's presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

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They have repeatedly cast doubt on Trump's promises but pledged to follow the guidance of scientists and health care experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease specialist.

Trump on Friday promised that 100 million doses of a vaccine would be produced by the end of the year and that there would be enough vaccines for all Americans by April.

"Three vaccines are already in the final stage," Trump said at a briefing.

"Joe Biden's anti-vaccine theories are putting a lot of lives at stake, and they're only doing it for political reasons," the president said from a White House podium. "It's part of their war to discredit the vaccine now that they know we essentially have it. We'll be announcing it fairly soon."

The first case of covid-19 was reported in the United States just eight months ago. Health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief, Dr. Robert Redfield, believe a vaccine will require at least 12-18 months to create because of the extensive testing required to ensure it's safe and effective.

Trump has suffered politically from the pandemic, which has devastated the global economy and killed nearly 200,000 Americans, more than triple the number of deaths he predicted in April. But six weeks before the Nov. 3 election, there is a broadening sense from voters that things have begun to move in the right direction even as experts warn that it's too soon to believe the worst is over.

Four in 10 people now say the "worst is behind us" -- the same number of people who say "the worst is yet to come," according to a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Rep. Ami Bera of California, one of three Democratic physicians serving in the House of Representatives, said the modest drop in infections from the summer peak does not mean the nation has turned the corner.

He said a vaccine is critically important and welcomed one as soon as possible, as long as it's deemed safe by science.

"I don't have any vaccine hesitancy. I know the immense power of vaccines. We are going to need a vaccine. I have no issue with taking a vaccine," Bera said.

But he offered a warning: "Trust the scientists. Trust the doctors. Don't trust the politicians."

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are sticking with a simple message pushing for a vaccine as soon as possible, but not a moment earlier. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday praised the FDA scientists and researchers helming the vaccine initiative.

"We all hope and pray for a vaccine, and that will make a tremendous difference," Pelosi said.

"We don't want it one day sooner than it is ready, from a safety and efficacy standpoint, and we don't want it one day later," she added. "Hopefully that will be soon."

Still, it's far from certain that all Americans will take the vaccine when it's available.

Only about half of Americans say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine if it were available to them today, according to a poll released by the Pew Research Center.

Information for this article was contributed by Emily Swanson and Lisa Mascaro of The Associated Press.


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