President Donald Trump stepped up to the mic on Friday to tout a major breakthrough on the coronavirus vaccine front.
“No medical breakthrough of this scope and magnitude has ever been achieved this rapidly, this quickly,” Trump said, speaking from the White House Rose Garden.
The president delivered an update on his administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and devoted significant attention to the news that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was on the verge of releasing a COVID-19 vaccine, the Washington Examiner reported. “As a result of Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer announced on Monday that its China virus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective. This far exceeds any and all expectations,” Trump said.
Trump did not take any questions from reporters, nor did he discuss the election. He did, however, take some shots at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) in response to the governor’s partisan and highly skeptical critiques about the impending vaccine and how the administration would handle distribution.
Vaccine coming soon
Trump expressed his congratulations and gratitude for all who were involved in Operation Warp Speed, the joint public-private undertaking launched earlier in the year to rapidly research, develop, and distribute vaccines and therapeutic treatments for the coronavirus.
All that awaits the Pfizer vaccine, said to be 90 percent effective, is an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is expected to be issued in the very near future. The president noted, however, that there are at least three other vaccines being developed, as well as a number of therapeutics, that should also receive FDA emergency use approval as soon as possible.
A problem with New York
As for the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine, once it has been approved, Trump said, “The vaccine will be distributed to frontline workers, the elderly, and high-risk Americans immediately. It will be very — a matter of weeks.”
He predicted, “As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York state, where, for political reasons, the governor decided, they say — and, you know, I don’t think it’s good, politically; I think it’s very bad from a health standpoint — but he wants to take his time with the vaccine. He doesn’t trust where the vaccine is coming from.”
Trump noted that “we can’t be delivering (the vaccine) to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately,” but suggested that it will quickly be made available as soon as Gov. Cuomo was ready to accept it.
The president’s remarks, unsurprisingly, drew a sharp response from Cuomo, the New York Post reported, as the governor threatened to sue the administration if it didn’t deliver the vaccine to New York in a timely fashion — even though just days earlier, as Trump alluded to, Cuomo had expressed deep misgivings about the vaccine and insisted upon an independent review prior to delivery to the state.
Progress on other fronts
In his remarks in the Rose Garden, President Trump also spent some time discussing several promising new therapeutic drugs that were on the verge of approval and said that, with regard to the surge in cases and hospitalizations across the nation, the federal government is working to ensure that each state has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and anything else that might be necessary to cope with the uptick.
Hopefully, the FDA will not drag its feet in issuing the emergency use authorizations necessary for the various COVID vaccines and therapeutics and distribution can get underway as soon as possible. Countless lives are depending upon it.