On Thursday morning, an advisory panel convened to decide whether the Food and Drug Administration will approve the first coronavirus vaccine to be administered in the U.S. This vaccine from drug manufacturer Pfizer and German firm BioNTech is one of two vaccines submitted for approval by the FDA. Dozens more vaccines are still being developed.
The potential approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is big news for our country, which faces overtaxed intensive care units, hospitals running out of beds, and growing numbers of cases and deaths from the virus every day.
This week, for the first time since the pandemic began, the U.S. reported more than 3,100 deaths in a single day.
The need for a vaccine is urgent, and the Trump administration for months has boasted of its efforts to bring a vaccine to the American people with unprecedented speed. Now, it appears at least one vaccine is probably here.
Though at first, after it’s approved, it will be available only to some health-care workers and nursing homes residents and staff. For most Americans, a vaccine probably won’t be available until at least spring, which means we have several more months before this pandemic can start to get under control.
The Trump administration has touted vaccine development as a major accomplishment in its covid-19 response.
President Trump held a news conference Tuesday to celebrate the vaccine and credit his own work in making the advances possible.
In particular, Trump has repeatedly credited the White House’s Operation Warp Speed initiative with providing the money and resources the government and private companies need to bring a vaccine to the population quickly.
But Pfizer, the company behind the vaccine awaiting FDA approval this week, has distanced itself from Operation Warp Speed. And critics say the initiative has fallen short on goals of delivering 300 million or so doses of vaccine by the end of the year.
So just how much did the Trump administration’s efforts directly affect vaccine development?
On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, Nicole Lurie of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, answers key questions like: Has Operation Warp Speed done more to help the process than our government’s preexisting pandemic response system? Plus, what’s hindered the development process, what’s helped and who deserves credit?
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