President Donald Trump’s public-private partnership proved to be a strategic success.
How can you tell that President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed has been an outstanding success?
Perhaps the biggest clue is that Democratic Party leaders are trying to connect the effort to the current administration, obscuring Trump’s very public efforts to launch the private-public partnership system designed to invent, test, produce, and distribute the coronavirus vaccine.
Thank you President Donald Trump and Operation Warp Speed. pic.twitter.com/ORX9ucAVl5
— Leslie Eastman (@Mutnodjmet) March 19, 2021
As we enter the second year of the pandemic, it is worth noting that American vaccination efforts also are outpacing those in Europe, despite initial claims that Europe was the gold standard in coronavirus response. Interestingly, it is being reported that only about 10% of Europeans have received a first dose, compared with 23 percent in the United States.
In a detailed analysis comparing the European and U.S. programs, the New York Times seems to support that the public-private partnership was a contributing factor explaining the differences.
But the biggest explanation, the one that has haunted the bloc for months, is as much philosophical as it was operational. European governments are often seen in the United States as free-spending, liberal bastions, but this time it was Washington that threw billions at drugmakers and cosseted their business.
Brussels, by comparison, took a conservative, budget-conscious approach that left the open market largely untouched. And it has paid for it.
In short, the answer today is the same as it was in December, said Dr. Slaoui. The bloc shopped for vaccines like a customer. The United States basically went into business with the drugmakers, spending much more heavily to accelerate vaccine development, testing and production.
“They assumed that simply contracting to acquire doses would be enough,” recalled Dr. Slaoui, whom President Donald J. Trump hired to speed the vaccine development. “In fact what was very important was to be a full, active partner in the development and the manufacturing of the vaccine. And to do so very early.”
Furthermore, European vaccination efforts have been hampered by halts to the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to reported blood clot cases. Those suspensions have been lifted in the wake of a surge in cases and increasing pandemic fatigue.
Governments across Europe raced on Friday to lift suspensions on AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and reassure an exhausted and anxious public that it was safe amid a new wave of infections that led many countries to reimpose harsh restrictions on movement and businesses.
German officials warned that plans to ease restrictions by Easter might have to be put on hold and said that more measures might be needed in the weeks ahead. Paris was one of many cities across France where people were essentially ordered to stay at home. Italy entered its third national lockdown on Monday, and Poland will put in place its own lockdown on Saturday.
The rapid moves to tighten what were already relatively stringent restrictions came as nearly every country in Europe that had halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine — including France, Germany, Italy and Spain — said they would start using it again.
But the brief halt in the use of the vaccine underscored the slow pace of mass inoculation campaigns, which led officials to warn that the only way to control the virus was to impose restrictions.
It’s hard to overstate exactly how vital Trump’s approach to vaccine development, approval, and purchase was to the current rate of vaccinations across this country.
The most innovative feature of OWS was government purchases of large quantities of vaccine types undergoing clinical trials, irrespective of the outcome (such as $2 billion and $483 million in early purchases from Pfizer and Moderna, respectively).
OWS called for clinical trials, manufacturing, and logistics to be conducted on a parallel rather than a sequential basis. The pursuit of multiple vaccine types built redundancy into the program to insure as many approved vaccine types as possible….
…As to the OWS goal of 300 million doses, delivery data shows that 80 percent of the target will have been met by the end of this month. Moreover, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that the Trump administration had already ordered some 800 million doses for delivery by July 31, 2022. Pfizer alone is planning to deliver 200 million doses to the United States by May 2021 and claims it can deliver 2 billion doses worldwide by the end of 2021.
The data therefore suggest that the OWS goal of 300 million doses is being met much sooner than would have been conceived as the program was launched.
Other parts of the world are lagging in vaccination efforts. Home-produced Covid vaccine apparently haven’t helped India, Russia, and China rollouts due to a lack of public interest within those nations.
As vaccinations rates soar in Israel, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have monopolised supply, and poorer nations make do with a trickle of doses, a third category are beginning long climbs. Supply is less of an issue in Russia, China or India, all of which produce their own vaccines. But their respective government programmes have had slow starts, and there has been little public clamour to speed things up.
“People have not shown that eagerness and urgency to be vaccinated,” says Ajeet Jain, a doctor at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital in Delhi. “India is going through that phase where the disease is no longer prevalent except in a few states. People are relaxed that the disease is over from their point of view.”
China has been practicing vaccine diplomacy with its Sinovac product. It appears that the use of its vaccine comes with a price.
There are concerns among receiving countries that China’s vaccine diplomacy may come at a cost, which China has denied. In the Philippines, where Beijing is donating 600,000 vaccines, a senior diplomat said China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, gave a subtle message to tone down public criticism of growing Chinese assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.
The senior diplomat said Wang did not ask for anything in exchange for vaccines, but it was clear he wanted “friendly exchanges in public, like control your megaphone diplomacy a little.” The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue publicly.
And while China may tout its product, there are indications that the product’s efficacy rate is as low as 50%.
Reviewing the data on the speed of development, efficacy of the product, manufacture of the supply, and distribution to a large population, Operation Warp Speed is light years ahead of other national programs. Trump’s public-private partnership proved to be a strategic success.DONATE
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