|Operation Warp Speed is winning. The Trump administration has held one press conference after another trumpeting the results of drugmakers’ Herculean efforts to design and test pandemic vaccines, and is preparing to put them to use.
Last week we read that Pfizer’s inoculation was at least 90% effective. Then, on Monday, Moderna’s was 94.5% effective. And Wednesday we learned that Pfizer’s was in fact 95% effective and would be submitted for an emergency-use authorization in days. Shots may start going into Americans’ arms as soon as the end of the year. The cavalry is coming.
Or so it would seem. There’s still one important piece missing in this months-to-years-long process of getting Covid vaccines to everyone who needs them: a smooth transition to a new administration.
Absent some gross malfeasance, Joe Biden will be sitting in the Oval Office in about two months. Yet when reporters asked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about his contact with incoming officials regarding vaccine distribution, he replied that there would be continuity “in the event of a transition.”
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there would be continuity “in the event of a transition.”
He quickly added that the staff of the vaccine rollout is composed of career officials; these would presumably still be in place in late January. Yet the meaning of his response was clear: We’re not accepting the results of the election.
Treating the transfer of a power as a hypothetical seems unnecessarily flippant, short-sighted and dangerous. It’s a reminder of how President Trump responded to the pandemic, saying first that it would all go away, then that it was under control, then that it could be countered with cheap antimalarial drugs, then that it was a Chinese plot, then that it was a media fabrication, and now that it’s a massive victory.
Let’s not try to change the story again. The pandemic is serious. Preparing for a transition after an election is prudent, not political. Let’s get ready to move on.
Covid-19 South America Expert