National Institute of Health director Dr. Francis Collins recently praised the Trump administration for its “breathtaking success” of Operation Warp Speed and getting two effective coronavirus vaccines developed and distributed as a pandemic response. The Trump White House deserves credit for getting shots developed and into the arms of millions of Americans by the time President Joe Biden was sworn in.
Collins marveled at the speed of the Trump Administration during an interview on “Axios on HBO,” where Moderna and Pfizer developed vaccines with such high efficacy rates that they were approved by the FDA by mid-December. “It’s just breathtaking that that got done in 11 months from when we first knew about this virus. It is at least five years faster than it has ever been done before,” he said.
Collins mentioned the effort and recruitment of Dr. Monclef Slauoi, who led Operation Warp Speed under Trump. He said Dr. Slaoui was an important part of motivating actions and coordinations within the team. They thought of the program as a “Manhattan Project,” which was a research and development undertaking that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II.
“Those words were used sometimes to describe what needed to happen in order to get all parts of the government together in an unprecedented way to test up to six vaccines in rigorous trials, and to do this at-risk manufacturing so that if any of those trials happen to work, you would already have doses ready to go into arms. That would not be the way things are traditionally done,” Collins said.
Dr. Fauci, the head of the coronavirus task force, has already debunked multiple claims by Vice President Kamala Harris that they are starting a vaccine distribution plan “from scratch.” The Biden Administration has led on that they would have to begin from “square one” because there was no plan in place. Fauci was asked during a media briefing about developing a new plan.
“The plan had obvious shortcomings. but to say there’s nothing to rework is not true. We’re certainly not starting from scratch, because there is activity going on in the distribution. I mean we’re coming in with fresh ideas, but also some ideas with … the previous administration. You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all,” Dr. Fauci said.
When former President Trump predicted a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020, multiple media outlets declared it a “pipe dream” and that it would take a “miracle.” Now, the U.S leads the world in total vaccinations, estimating around 1 million vaccinations per day. Not every President would have or could have pulled this off.