Regardless of one’s opinion on vaccines, Operation Warp Speed has been one of President Trump’s most tremendous accomplishments. Due to his determination to provide a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine to the American people in record time, companies have achieved in months what typically takes years, and they should be heralded for it.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientist behind Operation Warp Speed, spoke to Fox News’ Sandra Smith on Wednesday.
Slaoui told Smith he expects to see FDA approval of the first two vaccines in December, hopefully in the first half of the month or “around the 18th.”
“We’ll have two vaccines approved. Early on, I would say during the month of December, January and mid-February, the number of doses will be somewhat limited. We’ll probably, overall, have enough to immunize 35, 40 million people in that period of time, maybe even 50 million people.”
“Up to the month of June, that’s the time we need to manufacture about 600 million doses of vaccines overall, enough to immunize the total population of the United States.”
When asked if he felt the FDA was “dragging its feet” on approving the vaccines as an earlier guest on the program had suggested, Slaoui said he was not involved in that process. However, he indicated that based on his “interactions with the FDA on other matters, that they are giving this the number one priority.”
Slaoui was pleased that the MHRA, the UK’s medicine regulatory agency, approved Pfizer’s version of the vaccine on Wednesday. He thought it was “really great” an organization that was “independent body that has nothing to do with the politics in the United States, has looked into the data and judged them to be good; i.e. this vaccine is effective, it is safe for the UK’s population, and I really look forward next week for the FDA to reach the same decision.”
Smith referenced a recent USA Today article which said Slaoui had two conditions that had to be met before he agreed to participate in OWS.
The conditions, said Smith, were: “There can be no political interference in your work and no bureaucracy to slow you down. Were both conditions met during this process for you?”
“Yes,” Slaoui replied. “I have to say they were 100 percent met. I’ve had no interference.”
He said that may have been part of the reason the vaccines came in slightly ahead of schedule.
According to USA Today, over a 30-year career at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Slaoui developed 14 vaccines. When he was selected by the Trump Administration as an adviser for OWS, he was serving on the board at Moderna. He has since “stepped down from that role.”
USA Today did a deep dive into the Moroccan-born Slaoui. The outlet noted that, “In 2009, a flu pandemic was racing across the world when a venture capital firm that backs health care companies held its annual retreat. The meeting was a who’s who of pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives — the top leaders of the top companies in the world.”
“One man pulled together a group of his peers and issued a directive,” the article says. USA Today quoted Slaoui as telling the group, “We are going to work together to make something happen here.”
His strong results in 2009 made him a natural choice to lead the charge for a coronavirus vaccine. And he has certainly delivered so far.
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