A COVID-19 vaccine may be produced by election day, US President Donald Trump said in a statement.

When asked about the exact date a coronavirus vaccine might be ready, Trump said, “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner”.

“Sooner than November 3?” a radio presenter on the Geraldo Rivera radio program asked.

“I think in some cases, yes possibly before, but right around that time”, Trump answered.

The statement comes after the US Department of Defense said in a press release that it had “awarded $104 million in contracts to procure syringes and safety needles”.

The Defense Department explained that the move will make possible the nationwide administration of a Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine as soon as it is available.

“The syringes and safety needles are critical to the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy, providing a total of 500 million safety syringes over a 12-month period, with more than 134 million of the total number delivered by the end of 2020”, the release said.

The US government is paying companies billions of dollars for millions of doses of experimental vaccines before they have been shown to work, stockpiling supplies for mass distribution in hopes that at least one of the candidates proves safe and effective.

The United States has reported more than 4.8 million cases of COVID-19 and over 159,000 deaths caused by the disease, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.