Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that pushing for a speedy vaccine for the coronavirus was “the best decision that I’ve ever made,” seeming to take credit for the vaccine’s development and failing to mention Operation Warp Speed, Fox News reported.
Fauci made the comments during the taping of a CNN special on doctors during the pandemic that aired Sunday night.
“When I saw what happened in New York City, almost overrunning of our health care systems, and that’s when it became very clear that the decision we made on January 10 to go all-out and develop a vaccine, may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made with regard to intervention as the director of the institute,” he said in COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.
Fauci left out all mention of former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed task force, which formed the public-private partnerships needed to develop a vaccine quickly and touted it to the public as a way to return to normal activities.
Trump officials push back
Trump administration officials pushed back on Fauci’s comments, noting that Fauci was dismissive of Operation Warp Speed and commented publicly that it could take “years” for a vaccine to be developed.
If it were up to Fauci we still wouldn’t have a Covid vaccine. https://t.co/YlPjOkSxHU
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) March 29, 2021
In February, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins called the Trump administration’s decision to pursue a vaccine through Operation Warp Speed “incredibly important.”
“The fact that we in December have not one, but two vaccines that had gone through trials and had been judged safe and effective by a very rigorous and very public FDA process is just breathtaking,” he told Axios on HBO.
Trump said earlier this month that he deserves credit for the fastest-ever vaccine rollout. “I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” read a statement from the former president. “I hope everyone remembers!”
More than 100 million Americans have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the vaccines are showing an average 90% reduction in new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some states have reopened in the midst of the vaccination process and the economy continues to rebound, although other statements Fauci has made indicate that he thinks shutdowns and mask-wearing should continue indefinitely.
It seems obvious that Fauci knows his relevance to the public will be over if people’s lives go back to normal, which gives him a strong motivation to keep lockdowns going as long as possible.