Operation Warp Speed aggressively initiated by the Trump Administration with $10 billion of CARES Act funding has produced this global vaccine victory. https://t.co/FH1MeiPNcd
— French Hill (@RepFrenchHill) March 12, 2021
The former guy and his acolytes, such as U.S. Rep. French Hill, are trying to rewrite COVID history and give the sociopath credit for the COVID-19 vaccination distribution that has benefitted from the laser focus of the Biden administration.
It’s bull. There’s no victory if the shos aren’t delivered and their the former guy failed miserably, but Joe Biden has pressed forward impressively.
The previous administration had no plan to get the vaccine to the states. It lobbied against funding for states to handle the program (a bad idea in itself.)
What the Trump administration left the country with was a partnership with pharmacies to vaccinate nursing homes — the only real footprint of a federal plan to deliver vaccine into people’s arms. And even that foundered amid allegations of inefficiency compared to states that opted out.
What’s more is that that one plan only covered the first phase of distribution: nursing home residents and hospital workers, who received inoculations from the medical facilities at which they worked. It set the Biden administration up for a “vaccine cliff,” an outcome that was avoided in part due to the outcry over the sheer ineptitude of the effort’s early stages.
Arkansas has done little better. It waited weeks to set up even a rudimentary hotline to help those without computers or understanding or access to places with shots. It devised an incoherent plan that inexplicably favored some over others. It allowed a system in which the savvy, the connected, the diligent, the well-to-do and others have been able to get shots while others in great need cannot. It has encouraged vaccine tourism to neighboring states.
Arkansas was hampered for a time because the previous administration under-delivered dramatically from doses that had been promised, in addition to providing no “last-mile” delivery system. State health departments weren’t equipped to step into the gap.
Of Operation Warp Speed, TPM recounts:
Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s top vaccine scientist and a Star Trek fan, came up with the name for the program and the approach: the federal government would subsidize COVID-19 vaccine development, allowing companies to scale up manufacturing for shots that may not pan out so that if trials confirmed they worked safely, the country would immediately begin to vaccinate en masse.
That’s the one area where the Trump administration — or rather the career officials therein — deserve credit. The second half — having a plan to vaccinate people en masse — did not exist.
Marks himself threatened to resign in August after Trump pressured the FDA to authorize a vaccine before the November election.
That threat succeeded in keeping the vaccine on the timetable of its clinical trials. But when it came time to distribute it to millions of Americans, there simply was no plan.