President Donald Trump is on track to meet his goal of delivering a coronavirus vaccine within months of the pandemic’s arrival to the United States, rather than the years it usually takes for a vaccine.
With Operation Warp Speed, Trump has achieved a miracle of American enterprise that would make former President Ronald Reagan proud, according to a writer at the National Review.
Triumph of American ingenuity
Trump has been taking a victory lap over the news that two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have effective vaccines awaiting federal approval, a remarkable achievement.
Dr. Marc Slaoui, who led Operation Warp Speed, has said that the Pfizer vaccine could go out to the first participants before Christmas.
Writer Matthew Continetti, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who played a role in funding opposition research against Trump in 2016, praised Trump’s vaccine success, calling the Warp Speed program a triumph of what Reagan once called “The Creative Society.” The phrase came from a speech Reagan gave as governor of California, but it summarized his ideal of government as a hand that lightly guides what he called the “collective wisdom and genius of the people.”
Looking back on the early days of the pandemic, when the Centers for Disease Control was blamed for sending out botched coronavirus tests, Continetti argues that Warp Speed succeeded by supporting the private sector but otherwise staying out of the way, in the mold of Reagan’s views.
“Its success is a reminder that there is no limit to American ingenuity when government stands alongside the people rather than in front of them,” Continetti wrote.
Continetti’s piece is a response to a lengthy New York Times article that describes in detail how Pfizer and Moderna raced to develop their vaccines in record time, with novel technology helping their efforts and a federal government prepared to spend whatever was necessary.
While the much larger Pfizer did not accept research funding, the company did sell millions of doses in advance to the federal government in July, and Moderna received $2.5 billion in funding for its development efforts.
Although excellent news, the vaccine announcements have also been met with accusations from Trump of political games. Both vaccines were announced after Election Day.
If enough Americans are willing to take the vaccine, America can reach herd immunity by May, Dr. Slaoui has said.
“Normally, with the level of efficacy we have – 95% – then 70% or so of the population being immunized would allow true herd immunity to take place,” Slaoui said. “That is likely to happen somewhere in the month of May, something like that, based on our plans.”