In Real World, Trump’s Mass Vaccination Is a Near-Term Prospect
Oct. 23, 2020 (EIRNS)—An on-the-record press conference of representatives of “Operation Warp Speed” on Friday made clear that the mass vaccination of Americans (at least) against COVID-19 is likely to occur in the relatively near future, as President Donald Trump began to indicate Thursday night before being interrupted by a very intrusive debate “moderator.” The briefers were Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Paul Mango of the Health and Human Services Department and Col. Matt Hepburn MD, representing “Operation Warp Speed.” Here are its more important reports.
First, Dr. Hepburn said he and his colleagues believe that the most vulnerable parts of the American population will be vaccinated before the end of the year; senior citizens, during January; and all Americans by March or April. He and the other speakers warned that, given the rigor and transparency with which trials are being conducted and assessed for safety and efficacy of vaccines, “additional steps” which various (Democratic) governors have proposed to interpose will be counter-productive to public acceptance of vaccination, and cause “delays and lives lost.”
Second, with the Moderna vaccine’s trial completed Friday, and the AstraZeneca vaccine’s Phase 3 trial resumption announced the same day, the federal government has a sophisticated algorithm for each state and territory detailing the numbers of each sub-group of most vulnerable people—nursing home residents, front-line employees, meatpackers, etc.—ready now, to be submitted for states’ final determinations over the next two weeks. This program is called “Tiberius,” and sufficient numbers of doses have already been acquired of each vaccine, to carry it out as soon as approved.
Third, as President Trump said after being rudely interrupted Thursday night, OWS Chief Operating Officer Army Gen. Gustave Perna has teams of military logisticians ready to plan supplies from dry ice to aspirins, shipments, tracking of every dose of vaccine and its expiration date, and gaming “every conceivable scenario” of distribution. However, both Surgeon General Adams and Colonel Hepburn stressed, no federal military personnel—in fact, no federal employee—will touch any vaccine dose during shipment, storage, or injection. The only exception may be Adams’ personal vaccination of employees in the HHS headquarters.
Fourth, Adams described his own direct campaign to ensure minority participation in vaccine trials, and the recruitment of local institutions and leaders in minority communities, the National Association of Medicine, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and others, to encourage public acceptance and compliance. In the now-completed Moderna Phase 3 trial, which he cited as an example, 37% of the 30,000 volunteers are minorities including more than 10% who are Black.
And last, not least, Mango twice reaffirmed that the Administration will find ways to ensure the vaccine is free to all Americans. One exemplary plan is the agreement HHS announced Oct. 16 with the CVS and Walgreen’s pharmacy chains to administer vaccines free to elderly in long-term care or assisted living facilities, some 9,000 of which have already signed up and are waiting.