Getting the facts right on Operation Warp Speed

An article by my Hoover colleague Dr. Paul Gregory in The Hill

Former President Donald Trump formally announced Operation Warp Speed (OWS) on May 15, 2020. OWS was constituted as a projected $18 billion business-government-military partnership, charged to “produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.” No date was set for fulfilling the 300 million doses target, other than the understanding that it would be “accelerated” relative to conventional standards.

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. (Currently, 251 vaccines are in the process of development).

Some ten months later, the results of OWS are as follows:

On Dec. 11, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) a vaccine produced by Pfizer for “the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in individuals 16 years of age and older.” Approval of Moderna’s vaccine followed seven days later. The first Americans were vaccinated on Dec. 15, 2020, only four days after FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

Read the full article here

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