Speaking from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Tuesday, President Trump announced that the United States was only “days away” from approving its first COVID-19 vaccine, potentially bringing a relatively quick end to the almost year-long pandemic.
The president made the remarks at the “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit,” taking the stage to the song “Hail to the Chief.”
If approved, a vaccine for the coronavirus would be the fastest vaccine ever developed. The president noted this in his remarks.
“We’re here to discuss a monumental national achievement. From the instant the coronavirus invaded our shores, we raced into action to develop a safe and effective vaccine at breakneck speed. It would normally take five years, six years, seven years, or even more,” President Trump noted.
“In order to achieve this goal, we harnessed the full power of government, the genius of American scientists, and the might of American industry to save millions and millions of lives all over the world. We’re just days away from authorization from the FDA, and we’re pushing them hard, at which point we will immediately begin mass distribution.
“The gold standard vaccine has been done in less than nine months. On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank everyone here today who has been involved in this extraordinary American initiative,” the president added.
President Trump also signed an executive order at the summit titled, “Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines.” The order made it a policy of the executive branch to “ensure that Americans have priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government.”
Only after Americans receive the vaccine can the federal government “facilitate international access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines.”
The announcement from President Trump comes on the same day as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer “met the prescribed success criteria.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the FDA’s statement “paves the way for the agency to green-light distribution as early as this weekend.”
It remains to be seen how many Americans will choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton have all committed to get the vaccine on camera to shore up the public’s perception of its safety.
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Photo from Oliver Contreras/POOL/CNP/startr/REUTERS