The White House’s Operation Warp Speed chief, Dr. Moncef Slaaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s efforts to expedite vaccine development for the novel Wuhan coronavirus, said Friday that 20 million doses would be distributed in December.
On Monday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its leading candidate for a COVID vaccine proved 90 percent effective in late-stage large-scale clinical trials getting ready for public distribution.
on (FDA) by year’s end.
“I think it’s a remarkable achievement within a period of six to seven months,” Slaoui said in remarks delivered next to the president in the White House Rose Garden.
President Donald Trump celebrated the vaccine’s progress under the administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative that Democrats charged as dangerous on the campaign trail. Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she would refuse to take a vaccine offered to her by President Trump. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who leads the state hardest hit by the Chinese virus, called the vaccine’s development under Trump “bad news,” and vowed he would block the vaccine’s rollout under a Biden administration next year.
In response, Trump, noting that the vaccine will be ready for the general population “free-of-charge” after prioritizing at-risk individuals, said Friday he would refrain from sending any doses to the Empire State until Cuomo gave the green light.
“He doesn’t trust where the vaccine’s coming from. These are coming to form the greatest companies from anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world,” Trump said. “But he doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration. So we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have the authorization to do so, and that pains me to do that … We can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people.”
The president also took a shot at Pfizer’s denial that it received funding from Operation Warp Speed.
“Pfizer said it wasn’t part of Operation Warp Speed, but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation,” Trump said. “It was an unfortunate mistake they made when they did that.”
Pfizer had in fact signed a $2 billion dollar contract with Health and Human Services (HHS). News surfaced this week that the company informed the Biden campaign of its vaccine effectiveness before federal government health officials, who only discovered the medical breakthrough by media reports.
The president concluded his remarks with a pledge that the administration would refrain “under any circumstances,” from implementing a nationwide lockdown, whether Trump remains in office another two months or another four years pending recounts and legal challenges in several tipping-point states. As of this writing, media outlets have called last week’s contest for Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden, though Trump has not conceded the election.
“I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown,” Trump said. “Hopefully, whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be. I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown … The cure cannot be, you’ve got to remember, cannot be worse than the problem itself.”