Dr. McClellan: ‘Operation Warp Speed’ accelerated COVID vaccine
Former FDA commissioner joins ‘The Daily Briefing’ to discuss coronavirus vaccine progress
Operation Warp Speed has been an unmitigated triumph, producing two coronavirus vaccines and two effective treatments, with more to come, in a record seven months, at least five years ahead of the usual schedule.
We now will be able put the pandemic behind us by May, says one of the heroes of this uniquely American effort, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Warp Speed’s chief scientific adviser.
That will require 70 percent of the country to agree to being immunized “to allow for true herd immunity to take place,” he told CNN Sunday.
But whether or not we will reach that crucial herd-immunity deadline is in doubt, not because of any flaw in the planning of the other hero of Warp Speed, chief operating officer Gen. Gustave Perna.
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It is in doubt because of politically motivated scaremongering from Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and cronies such as Andrew Cuomo, who have done their best to shake faith in the vaccines, in order to diminish what may be President Trump’s greatest success.
This is despicably petty when we face the prospect of more than 1,000 people dying every day as the pandemic reignites.
Biden stooped last week to using the vaccine as a cudgel to force the Trump administration into expediting his transition.
He made the baseless claim that “more people may die” from the coronavirus if Trump doesn’t immediately involve the Biden transition team in vaccine distribution plans.
That empty threat will not engender confidence among the most vulnerable Americans and frontline workers first in line for the vaccine on December 11th or 12th, which will be 24 hours after the FDA presumably authorizes Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use.
During the campaign, Biden and Harris repeatedly cast doubt on the safety of any vaccine rolled out under Trump: “I would not take his word for it,” said Harris.
“I don’t trust Donald Trump” said Biden, claiming that “a mask remains a more potent weapon against the virus than the vaccine.”
That’s not science, but political mischief.
Cuomo described the vaccine breakthrough as “bad news” and wanted to conscript other governors into a plot to “shape,” as in obstruct, any vaccine rollout until Biden is installed Jan. 20.
The governor was at it again yesterday, throwing shade on the timing of the vaccine rollout: “People say, ‘Don’t worry, there’s a vaccine. I will wager you dollars for doughnuts it’s six months at a minimum.”
You would think that our leaders, whatever their political party, would pull together to end the pandemic as quickly as possible.
What is their motivation to keep us in misery? What drives their desire to keep children out of public schools, prolong the lockdown, ensure the failure of small businesses and the destruction of the middle class?
It’s as if they can’t bear to relinquish the power they wield over our lives.
To get out of their clutches, we need public confidence in the vaccine.
Dr Anthony Fauci didn’t mention Democrat leaders last week when he pushed back against claims corners were cut, but his intent was clear: to “put to rest any concept that this was rushed in an inappropriate way. This is really solid.”
Dr Slaoui, reputedly the world’s most successful vaccine developer, went further: “I have to say the operation has operated in full speed, based on science, focusing on patients and people’s need, no political interference, no bureaucracy, no red tape.
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“It’s been just an incredible visionary approach to put together science and the Department of Defense and industry in an incredible partnership, frankly. It’s been exceptional.”
Operation Warp Speed should fill us with pride about American prowess and ingenuity. It is a showcase of our scientific, military and industrial might.
At a time of national angst, it is a reminder of what makes America great.
President Trump’s determination to cut through red tape and push solutions in what his aides call “Trump time” was the driving force. Vice President Mike Pence was the smooth facilitator.
Gen. Perna, the New Jersey-born four-star general who has spent his career in charge of military supply lines, was running logistics, and you couldn’t imagine anyone more competent.
Planning “to save lives” began on May 15, “not the last two weeks,” he said, in a pointed rebuke to the naysayers. “It wasn’t about egos and credit but how do we solve this complex problem.”
Thanks to taxpayer dollars, clinical trials were much larger than required for FDA approval. Slaoui says that means our understanding of the short-term safety of the vaccines is “better than what we usually have”.
We don’t yet have data on long-term risk, but we know how every other vaccine has worked for the last 40 years, and “90 to 95 percent of all serious adverse events happen within 40 days”.
The FDA’s requirement for a 60-day observation period has seen no serious problems with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
In other words, we can have faith that the vaccines are as safe as any other we routinely take.
The heroes behind Operation Warp Speed will never receive the credit they deserve under a vindictive Biden administration seeking to destroy Trump’s legacy.
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The president’s biggest mistake was not to allow the calm, reassuring Pence to front coronavirus briefings through spring while he took credit as delegator-in-chief.
Without his personality clouding the success of his policies, he might have won the election with a margin big enough to overwhelm any fraud or irregularities.
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