"Public-private partnership" is usually a Beltway term for cronyism and
the waste of taxpayer resources. But so far it's hard to argue with the
results of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed to assist
the development and distribution of medical innovations to address
Covid-19. The rapid results must be especially striking to news
consumers who were repeatedly told that the president was wrong in
predicting quick development of a vaccine.
Back in August, Jane C. Timm and Jane Weaver of NBC News reported on
the President's Republican convention speech:
Fact check: No evidence for Trump's COVID-19 vaccine claim
"In recent months, our nation, and the entire planet, has been
struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy. Like those brave
Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are
delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine
before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner!" Trump
claimed on Thursday night.
This is largely false... The president boasts of lifesaving
therapies, but critics argue there isn't enough evidence to
back up this claim... There is also no evidence that an
effective vaccine will be delivered by the end of the year.
Thank goodness these "fact checkers" didn't have a firm grasp of the
facts. The Journal's Jared Hopkins reports today:
Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday it will ask health regulators to
authorize its experimental Covid-19 vaccine within days, after
reporting the shot was 95% effective in its pivotal study and
showing signs of being safe.
The company's plans mean the shot is on track to go into
distribution by the end of the year, if the regulators permit.
As for therapies, Mr. Hopkins notes:
During the current pandemic, the FDA has authorized for
emergency use several drugs, including the antiviral
remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc. and recently a Covid-19
antibody drug from Eli Lilly & Co.
And of course Pfizer's new innovation is not the only vaccine showing
great promise. The Journal's Peter Loftus reported on Monday:
Moderna Inc. said its experimental coronavirus vaccine was
94.5% effective at protecting people from Covid-19 in an early
look at pivotal study results, the second vaccine to hit a key
milestone in U.S. testing...
Moderna said it plans to ask federal health authorities by
early December to clear the vaccine.
If greenlighted, the shot could go into distribution that
month, making it one of the first Covid-19 vaccines to go into
distribution in the U.S., where reported coronavirus cases and
hospitalizations are surging.
The Moderna news arrived exactly two weeks after the Atlantic
magazine's publication of an article titled "All the President's Lies
About the Coronavirus: An unfinished compendium of Trump's overwhelming dishonesty during a national emergency." Author Christian Paz included
on his dubious list moments when Mr. Trump said a vaccine would be
ready "soon" and also a comment Mr. Trump made on September 29:
The claim: "We're weeks away from a vaccine," Trump said
at the first debate.
There's an old saying in the newspaper business: No one ever gets fired
for calling President Trump a liar. Actually that's not an old saying,
but it should give the media industry's "fact checkers" comfort that
certain mistakes may be tolerated more than others.
The Washington Post has a regular column called "Fact Checker" and an
edition published the same day as the Atlantic piece is also not aging gracefully. The Posties wrote:
Trump says a vaccine will be ready in weeks, while his
administration's experts are much more cautious and say it
won't be ready till next year.
What would we do without experts? In this season of thanks we can all
be grateful that Mr. Trump was pushing them to exceed the usual glacial
pace of Washington's health bureaucracies. A recent Journal editorial
The Trump FDA's Covid innovation has been providing real-time
feedback and clear guidance to drug and vaccine makers about
its expectations. This has helped therapies and vaccines
advance and cut Phase 3 trials from three years to a few
months. These reforms are one of the success stories of the
federal Covid response.
Don't be surprised if the media's "fact checkers" now attempt to
explain away their erroneous and unfair coverage by saying that they
simply meant that even if a vaccine was developed it would still take a
long time to distribute.
Mr. Trump's program could soon be taking away that excuse, too. Keith
Zubrow of CBS News recently reported on Gen. Gustave Perna, the career
U.S. Army supply officer appointed to lead Operation Warp Speed. The
general's team has been stockpiling supplies of several vaccine
candidates awaiting FDA approval. According to Mr. Zubrow:
Perna and his team are ready for when that authorization
hopefully arrives. He told 60 Minutes contributor and CBS
News national security correspondent David Martin that
vaccine doses are ready to ship in as little as 24 hours
after the FDA grants approval.
The vaccines and the kits needed to administer the shots will
be transported through partnerships Operation Warp Speed has
forged with private companies including FedEx, UPS, and the
medical supply firm McKesson.
"My goal [is] tens of millions [of vaccine doses] in December
hopefully and we expand into hundreds of millions [of doses in]
January, February, March," Perna said to 60 Minutes.
Whether or not "fact checkers" ever acknowledge it, the rapid pace of
vaccine development predicted by the president is a benefit to people everywhere.
: Mr. Freeman is the co-author of "The Cost: Trump,
: China and American Revival."
"We have put together, I think, the most extensive and and inclusive
voter fraud organization in the history of American politics."
- Joe Biden