Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and his wife decided to partake in a Wuhan coronavirus vaccine trial with Pfizer and BioNTech. On Wednesday, he announced that he tested positive for the virus' antibodies, Fox News reported. Daines said his motivation was simple: he wanted the American people to see that even elected officials would be willing to get the vaccine.
"My goal is to help build confidence and trust for Montanans and the American people wondering if they should take the vaccine when it is approved," he said in a statement. "This is about saving lives. This is about supporting our healthcare heroes. This is about protecting Montana jobs & workers and rebuilding our economy. This is about American exceptionalism and innovation. This is about restoring hope. This is about restoring normalcy into our way of life."
Daines said he received a call from his mom when the trials began in his hometown of Bozeman over the summer. The couple was part of the blind trial with another 100 Montanans.
At the end of the day, the senator said he hopes people will take the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine. He did, however, make it clear he's against a vaccine mandate.
“I trust Montanans to make the decision for themselves, use commonsense and practice personal responsibility," he explained. "While we wait for a final vaccine approval, we must remain smart, protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and be responsible."
Daines credited private companies and "American innovation" for the new vaccine.
I joined the @pfizer vaccine trial to help build confidence for the American people, advance science and get a vaccine out as quickly & safely as possible.— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) November 19, 2020
Thanks to American innovation, we’re so close to having one that will save lives & our economy. pic.twitter.com/CpwNlaciy8
The Pfizer/BioNTech's trials show the vaccine is 95 percent effective. The Phase 3 study has been so effective that Pfizer was applying for the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization.
The vaccine would require two rounds of shots, The Hill reported. Pfizer said it plans to produce roughly 50 million doses by the end of the year, meaning 25 million people would be covered. The drug company anticipates producing up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of next year.