DANIEL VAUGHAN: Joe Biden undermines Operation Warp Speed. Again.

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed was the greatest modern medical marvel in human history. It produced three working vaccines for use in the United States and led to a massive outburst of vaccines being administered across the nation.

Heading into April 2021, without Joe Biden doing anything, Operation Warp Speed was on pace to make the COVID-19 pandemic an endemic disease and end the need for pandemic-related closures and policies.

And then Joe Biden entered the scene.

In April of 2021, Joe Biden allowed the CDC and FDA to call for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over overblown fears that never panned out. The White House promised the pause would have no impact. The New York Times dutifully found “experts” to tote the party line.

On the date the Biden administration paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine usage, the United States was averaging more than 3.3 million vaccines administered each day. By the time we hit July 4th, when Biden all but declared victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccination rollout had plummeted to 500,000 a day, a shadow of its former self.

The wonderful medical organization of Operation Warp Speed was shredded by bureaucrats and an administration uninterested in elevating the program its predecessor built. But Operation Warp Speed kept chugging along despite these setbacks.

The rollout had started to recover by September, back to nearly 1 million vaccinations a day on average. And then Joe Biden gave his vaccine mandate speech, declaring that the Labor Department and OSHA would ensure everyone got vaccinated.

Biden spent his speech blasting the unvaccinated, saying, “Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated.” He called it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” And he ended with: “The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.”

None of the speech made coherent sense. COVID-19 is a threat to the unvaccinated, not the vaccinated. To claim that policy is incoherent at best, rank stupidity at worst. As John Podhoretz observed, “No, this speech was a Rube Goldberg message aimed at neurotic vaccinated people. Biden was saying that they shouldn’t worry…but if they’re worried, their worries are justified.”

For all the urgency he had in his speech, the president has yet to issue that OSHA rule; the mandates have not gone out. That suggests the order was a last-second idea strapped onto an incoherent speech by an administration scrambling to control a pandemic they’re ill-equipped to handle and understand less. We’re more than 18 months into this thing, and we have an administration learning and scrambling.

But the worst part of all about that speech is this: It’s reversed vaccination trends. Joe Biden has, once again, undermined the vaccination rollout and wrecked the progress of Operation Warp Speed.

Remember, the averages were topping out near 1 million a day. Since Joe Biden’s speech, the daily vaccination rates in the country have reversed, dropping to around 750,000 a day. The trendlines are not encouraging either, suggesting a continuing drop.

We’ll likely see the number of vaccinations administered climb in the coming days, but that is more likely due to people getting their booster shots, not people getting their first and second shots. Booster shots are great for those who need them; they won’t reduce the number of unvaccinated people in the country.

Suppose vaccination numbers do go up due to booster shots. In that case, it’s going to lull everyone into a false sense of security. They’ll hear numbers are up and assume things are improving as we head into winter, when that’s not the case. The only way to enhance COVID-19 outcomes is to rely on a combination of natural immunity and vaccinations for those who haven’t had the virus.

That’s a dangerous mix. If Joe Biden touts those increased numbers, he will be another part of the problem. And Biden has already kneecapped the vaccination rollout twice.

Instead of taking responsibility for these failures, Biden instead seeks to shift the blame. Instead of acknowledging the ways his administration, his campaign, the CDC, and the FDA — not to mention the media — have undermined trust in vaccines, Biden is blasting everyone else.

If Joe Biden looked in a mirror and saw a defect on his face, he’d blame the mirror or the person who made the mirror. Biden takes no responsibility for himself, his actions, or the impacts of his gaffes and speeches. Everyone else is to blame, never the White House.

We need to be asking questions, however. The vaccination rollout is drifting down at the wrong time. We’re on the verge of winter, and if the upcoming surge in the delta variant is as bad as the summer surge, the United States is in for some rough months.

Getting vaccinated is the best bet against this kind of winter. Still, this administration continues undermining the vaccination rollout and Operation Warp Speed at every step.

Biden has racked up an impressive list of failures early in his tenure. The ingredients are forming for things to get worse.

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