“Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back,” Trump said. “We’re starting the process.”
The president also said the United States will work closely with other countries — even those who aren’t allies, including China — to develop a vaccine. Trump said that cost will not be barrier to access. “The last thing anyone is looking for is profit.”
Operation Warp Speed will not only entail the development of a vaccine but also work to ensure that a successful vaccine can be produced rapidly and distributed efficiently, Trump said. Vaccine experts have expressed concern about whether there are sufficient supplies of materials such as glass vials to hold vaccine doses.
Slaoui said that he had recently seen encouraging unpublished data from a clinical trial of an unnamed vaccine candidate. “These data made me feel even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020,” he said.
Speaking minutes later, Azar gave a slightly different deadline, of January 2021, and said the goal was to make sufficient doses by then to vaccinate every American.
Public health experts, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, have repeatedly cautioned that developing an effective vaccine will take at least a year to a year and a half.
“There are a couple of things that are inherent in all vaccine development. First of all, there’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective,” Fauci testified to the Senate HELP Committee Tuesday. “I still feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a candidate that will give some degree of efficacy,” he added.