U.S. vaccine breakthrough makes history thanks to Operation Warp Speed
A coronavirus vaccine, delivered through Operation Warp Speed will be widely available by April, President Donald Trump announced Friday at a White House press briefing.
“In the past nine months, my administration has initiated the single greatest mobilization in U.S. history — pioneering, developing, and manufacturing therapies and vaccines in record time. Numbers like nobody has seen before,” the president said.
“No medical breakthrough of this scope and magnitude has ever been achieved this rapidly, this quickly. And we’re very proud of it, and I had tremendous help from the military — generals, admirals — and many of the great people at the White House,” he continued.
“Operation Warp Speed is unequaled and unrivaled anywhere in the world, and leaders of other countries have called me to congratulate us on what we’ve been able to do, and we’ve helped many countries with their ventilators and all of the problems they were having,” the president bragged.
He congratulated everyone involved in producing the vaccine, calling it an “incredible effort. “
“As a result of Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer announced on Monday that its China virus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective. This far exceeds any and all expectations. Nobody thought they’d get to that level. And we have others coming which we think will be at equal level — maybe more, if that’s possible,” he remarked.
The president said the administration reached an agreement with Pfizer in July to provide $1.95 billion “to support the mass manufacturing and distribution of 100 million doses, with the option to purchase a total of 600 million doses shortly thereafter. Our investment will make it possible for the vaccine to be provided by Pfizer free of charge.”
“Pfizer said it wasn’t part of Warp Speed, but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation. They are part. That’s why we gave them the $1.95 million — billion dollars. And it was an unfortunate mistake that they made when they said that,” the president noted.
He also pointed out that the average development timeline for a vaccine, including clinical tests and manufacturing, can take 8 to 12 years, but developers with Operation Warp Speed took less than one year to accomplish the Herculean task.
“If you had a different administration with different people, what we’ve done would have taken, in my opinion, three, four, five years, and it would have been in the FDA forever,” Trump said.
“This is five times faster than the fastest prior vaccine development in history. Five times faster. Say it again: five times faster. Nobody can believe it, actually.”
He said the vaccine will be distributed to frontline workers, the elderly, and high-risk Americans initially.
“We know that this virus primarily targets older populations and those with underlying health conditions. Well, over 99.98 percent of those under the age of 50 make a full and quick recovery. By giving the vaccine to high-risk individuals right away, we will dramatically reduce hospitalizations and deaths,” the president said.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed, said two vaccines and two therapeutics could “potentially” receive emergency use authorization before the end of the year, and millions of Americans could begin receiving vaccinations next month.
“We plan to have enough vaccine doses available for use in the U.S. population to immunize about 20 million individuals in the month of December, and another 25-30 million per month on an ongoing basis from there on,” Slaoui said.