Following a heavily contested and disputed election, leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties found themselves once more at odds over how the Coronavirus vaccine will be distributed to the general public.
As the Trump administration and their government initiative, titled “Operation Warp Speed,” near a potential cure with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, Biden’s COVID panel has called for an “overhaul” of the private-public partnership. Both groups offered their own visions of the next presidential term in regards to handling the virus, providing Americans with a post-election roadmap for the country’s future.
Addressing the nation at a White House press conference, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and leaders of Operation Warp Speed announced their plans to begin distributing vaccines nationwide, free of charge.
“It will be very- a matter of weeks,” Trump said in regards to the release timeline of the vaccine. “Get out very, very much ahead of schedule. Any schedule that I said, we’re going to be far ahead of that.”
According to the President, initial doses in December will be distributed to individuals highest at risk, including the elderly and “frontline workers.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines the “frontline workers” category as individuals “who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations.” Major sectors that fall into this definition include healthcare, food and agriculture, public safety, energy, and transportation.
The first wave will include “enough doses available to immunize 20 million individuals” followed by “another 25 to 30 million per month on an ongoing basis from there on,” per Chief Advisor of Operation Warpspeed, Doctor Moncef Slaoui.
The rest of the general population is expected to receive the vaccine starting in April, with the exception of states such as New York that require a separate approval process alongside the FDA’s evaluation before deeming the immunization safe. The state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, explained that their approval process will be headed by a “Nobel Prize Laureate to establish the credibility that they don’t have in President Trump.”
According to the Biden-Harris transition website, staff of the administration would also perform their own evaluation of the FDA approval, along with publicly releasing “clinical data for any vaccine the FDA approves; and authorize career staff to write a written report for public review and permit them to appear before Congress and speak publicly uncensored.”
In addition, Doctor Celine Gounder of Biden’s COVID advisory panel recently called for a renovation of Operation Warp Speed, switching the initiative’s focus from producing vaccines to funding testing, case data collection, and supporting various health departments.
Gounder warned that government health departments are “drowning” in the pandemic with a lack of support, though Pence has since contrasted this statement by asserting that the Trump administration is taking required efforts to “make sure that our healthcare system has the resources, the support, the equipment, and supplies that they need.”
“So the good news is that through Operation Warp Speed, Mr. President, is help is on the way. It’s on the way right around the corner. As one of the members of our task force said recently, the calvary is coming,” Pence said.
As both Biden and Cuomo have placed emphasis on following and listening to the science in regards to handling the virus, Secretary Alex Azar of Health and Human Services also affirmed that the Trump administration has prioritized the safety of Americans by following necessary medical procedures and allowing Operation Warp Speed to act independently.
“This process has been driven solely by science and data. So it’s a shame that some- one example being the Governor of New York- have injected politics into the process and suggested the possibility of intentionally delaying access to an FDA-authorized vaccine, which is simply unconscionable,” Azar said.
Although Biden stated, “We are still facing a very dark winter,” his chosen coronavirus adviser Atul Gawande and Secretary Azar have acknowledged there is light at the end of the tunnel. With imminent FDA approval of Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines, Americans may see a return to normalcy in the foreseeable future.
As a product of the close collaboration between Operation Warp Speed and individual manufacturers, Pfizer has officially confirmed on November 9th that one of their candidate vaccines had a 90% success rate in preventing the virus based on a phase 3 study. Over the course of their first interim analysis, which included 43,538 participants, “No serious safety concerns [were] observed.”
On November 15th, Moderna subsequently announced that its experimental vaccine in a first interim analysis of 95 confirmed COVID cases proved to be 94.5% effective.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.