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The Guardians of Democracy

Azar Admits Trump’s ‘Warp Speed’ Vaccines ‘May Not Be Safe And Effective, But We’ll Have It’


Azar Admits Trump’s ‘Warp Speed’ Vaccines ‘May Not Be Safe And Effective, But We’ll Have It’

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday admitted that the Trump administration’s much-hyped “Operation Warp Speed,” an effort to speed up the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine to every American by the end of the year, could produce hundreds of millions of doses that are neither safe nor effective.

“Operation Warp Speed which is what the White House is calling this push to have a vaccine by the end of the year - 300 million doses is the promise. Can you be clear here? Is the pledge - that all 328 million Americans will be able to get a shot in their arm by the end of the year?” Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked Azar.

“It’s not a pledge, it’s a goal of what we’re going to mobilize the entire U.S. government and private sector to achieve,” Azar said on “Face the Nation.”

President Trump on Friday doubled down on his claim that Americans could see a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by the end of the year. “When I say ‘quickly,’ we’re looking to get it by the end of the year if we can. Maybe before,” he told reporters.

But the Trump administration’s own medical and scientific experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have cautioned that it would be at least 12 to 18 months before a vaccine could be ready for the general public.

“Even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term,” Fauci said during a Senate hearing Tuesday.

“What we’re doing is wringing the inefficiency out of the development process to make the development side faster to get to a safe and effective vaccine,” Azar said Sunday. “And at the same time, we’re going to scale up commercial-sized manufacturing to produce hundreds of millions of doses at risk. They may not pan out. They might not prove to be safe and effective, but we’ll have it so we can begin administration right away.”

Asked whether a potential vaccine would require booster shots or whether hundreds of millions of doses will be sufficient, Azar said development programs will explore whether a vaccine can be administered in a single shot or multiple with a booster.

“That’s why you don’t go into battle with just one target here,” he said, adding the pool of 100 vaccine candidates has been narrowed to 14, with a further winnowing expected to four to six that the federal government places “the big financial bets behind.”


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