November 18th, 2020
Trump calls coronavirus vaccine announcements as 'Great discoveries,' but touts that they ‘happened on my watch’
Trump, on Monday, referred to Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine as one of the "great discoveries” after the Massachusetts-based biotech company revealed that its vaccine is 94.5% effective based on the late-stage clinical trial.Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine tops 90% effective.Last week, Trump falsely claimed credit for the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer quickly jumped in to clarify that they did not accept government money for developing, testing, or expanding manufacturing capacity under Trump's Warp Speed Initiative. Pfizer actually partnered with Germany’s BioNTech back in March. Operation Warp Speed was not announced until May.
Also, Trump asked “historians” to “remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch! Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary, also praised Moderna's vaccine, and called it a part of "President Trump's vision".Dr. Fauci revealed last week that Trump has not participated in a Coronavirus Task Force meeting in months, and Pence, who is head of the task force, has switched from daily meetings to meeting online once a week. White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas has gone against the team of medical experts' advice, encouraging Americans to "rise up" against public health meausures.In a tweet, Azar said the vaccine is a "stunning result of President Trump's leadership".While the Moderna vaccine is hopefully good news, it still needs approval from the FDA. If approved, widespread distribution won't be available until Spring 2021 at the earliest. In the meantime, the number of cases in the U.S. are exploding, hospitals are overwhelmed, and the CDC expects deaths to rise to as much as 282,000 by the week of December 5.
In the spring, Trump campaign introduced Operation Warp Speed, which is a multiagency partnership between the federal government and private drugmakers to develop and distribute vaccines.Also, the Operation Warp Speed has invested about $2 billion in the Moderna vaccine, Azar said.
The government also previously entered into an agreement with Moderna for 100 million doses, with an option to purchase 400 million more doses.
Critics accused Trump of racism and for taking credit for the vaccine.The continuous criticism of President Trump's use of the "China Plague" or "China virus" appellations for COVID19 are specious at best considering historical context in naming diseases for the location they arose. (See: Spanish Flu 1918, Hong Kong Flu 1968, German Measles 1814, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome 2012, West Nile Virus 1937. etc.) " 'Cause it comes from China. It's not racist at all, no, not at all." Trump said.Following the use of Trump’s term “China plague,” Asian-Americans have experienced an increase in discrimination and xenophobic attacks. The President's relentless use of the term “China plague” in today’s tumultuous society intentionally creates bias towards innocent fellow Americans who happen to be of Asian descent
Biden welcomed Moderna’s announcement, saying it is another “reason to feel hopeful".Also, Biden asked Americans to “practice social-distancing and mask-wearing” because the vaccine is “still months away".Biden's attempt to dampen this development came despite Dr. Stephen Hoge, President of Moderna stating 'Assuming we get an emergency use authorization, we'll be ready to ship through Warp Speed almost in hours,' 'So it could start being distributed instantly.' The Daily Mail reported "Moderna expects to produce around 20 million doses of the vaccine for the US this year, millions of which the company has already made"Biden has asked the Trump administration to share their vaccine distribution plans with the incoming administration, but so far Trump has not cooperated. Biden warned that “more people may die if you don’t coordinate." The longer Trump waits, the further it puts the vaccine and the economy behind.