‘Warp speed’ needs to be pursued now and later
Distribution of millions of doses of vaccine effective against COVID-19 was no Christmas miracle. It happened only because many people at private drug companies worked hard and at top speed — encouraged by the federal government — to develop and test the vaccines. And they were released much sooner than would normally have happened because regulatory agencies adopted President Donald Trump’s “warp speed” strategy.
One need not be an admirer of Trump to give him and his administration credit for that. Their efforts to get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available quickly have saved lives.
But both companies have international obligations and can produce their vaccines only so quickly. Getting other companies’ formulas out as fast as responsibly possible is essential.
“Warp speed” was intended to do that. Its benefits, including financial assistance and incentives, were not limited to Pfizer and Moderna. For example, another pharmaceutical giant, Merck, is receiving about $365 million to get its vaccine ready quickly.
A total of four vaccines in addition to Moderna’s and Pfizer’s are in development. The potential is for millions more doses of life-saving vaccine.
Clearly, we need it. Thousands of Americans are being killed each week by COVID-19. The vast majority are older men and women.
“Warp speed” needs to be pursued, both now and after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. More than that, any additional steps — including more support funding — that can be taken to speed distribution of more vaccines ought to be employed.
Lives, perhaps tens of thousands of them, can be saved.