Politics

Operation Warp Speed: Trump says a COVID-19 vaccine is coming

During Donald Trump’s first press conference since the US election, Trump says a COVID-19 vaccine will be available by April.

Without ever admitting defeat, Donald Trump made his first public press conference since the US election, where he focused on his initiative to find a coronavirus vaccine. It’s called Operation Warp Speed, but let’s put aside the ridiculousness of the name of the project and get some facts.

Pfiza, one of the leading companies edging towards developing a vaccine for COVID-19, have announced that they have developed a vaccine with 90% effectiveness. Trump has jumped on it, announcing that Pfiza were a part of Operation Warp Speed all along. He also announced they will provide the vaccine to Americans for free.

Trump

Despite Pfiza’s data indicating 90% effectiveness in protecting patients from COVID-19, the accuracy of the data has been scrutinised by Dr Norman Swan, a medically qualified Australian journalist.

“This is a press release, and it’s as much a commercial announcement as it is a scientific announcement. So the race is here to have a first mover advantage in the marketplace. Pfiza has not necessarily been a team player in the development of a vaccine, the other vaccine manufacturers that are at the front have shared the same trial protocol… Which means that when they get the results, it’s going to be much easier to compare what they’ve found with each other and find out which is the best vaccine.”

“Pfiza has not been part of that, so it’s not clear what 90% effectiveness actually means in this, and I think the announcement actually acknowledges that… So is it 90% effective at preventing the COVID-19 disease which is what the regulators want to see, but the rest of us want to see is that it’s 90% effective at preventing transmission.”

Despite this, Mike Pence has tweeted Pfiza’s vaccine will be available before the end of the year, and claims it is only pending FDA approval.

Trump intends to give the approvals necessary for emergency access to any vaccine, which due to Pfiza announcing the success of the vaccine without publishing comprehensive safety findings, could lead to the early distribution of a vaccine that could cause more health problems.

Some trial subjects have experienced immediate side effects similar to a severe hangover, for instance.

Operation Warp Speed was announced in May this year, which the US government created as an investment in accelerating the testing, supply, development. and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to counter COVID-19.

Operation Warp Speed was aiming to develop a vaccine by January 2021, and Trump maintained that despite Pfiza’s vaccine falling three months early of the initial target, his government would be “five times faster” than any other government.