Some of the outgoing President’s supporters have already taken to calling the various Covid vaccines the “Trump Vaccine”, so happy are they to associate his name with success. In fact, here’s White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany calling it that, just yesterday:
"It's the Trump vaccine" pic.twitter.com/MTFff7sQfk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 2, 2020
Regardless of what it’s called, Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” – something of which he can be rightly proud – is apparently on track to vaccinate 100m Americans by the end of February:
“The US hopes to have immunized 100 million people against COVID-19 by the end of February, a top official said Wednesday, which is approximately 40 percent of the country’s adult population.
The push should start within weeks, when vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna-NIH are expected to be approved.
There will be an “ample” amount of vaccine to immunize three million residents of long-term care facilities, said the former pharmaceutical executive, who was recruited by the administration of President Donald Trump in May.
The rest would be enough to reach the bulk of health care workers, if states and other territories agree with federal recommendations to prioritize this population.
As production of the two vaccines expands, 20 million will be reached in December, 30 million in January and 50 million in February, making 100 million total.
This figure, however, excludes other vaccines by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca-Oxford that are in the late stages of development.”
100million people is about 40% of the US Population. If that pace is achieved, and kept up through March, then the USA may well have achieved herd immunity to Covid by the end of April.
Joe Biden, who will be coming to the end of his first 100 days in office by about that time, will have a lot to thank his predecessor for.
Americans who get the vaccine, according to CNN, can expect to receive a little card for their wallet to prove that they received their Trump injection…. You know, in case anyone asks:
Here’s the card you’ll get when you eventually get the Covid-19 vaccine.
Everyone will get a card "they can put in their wallet that will tell them what they had and when their next dose is due," says Dr. Kelly Moore of the Immunization Action Coalition. https://t.co/pLj8YnH02T pic.twitter.com/66CIDc246T
— CNN (@CNN) December 3, 2020
Much like in Ireland, however, there are no plans for mandatory vaccinations. Though the existence of that card has some people, quite reasonably, nervous that it might become the kind of thing people ask you to produce if you want to get on their airplanes, or eat in their restaurants.
In any case, those people are (whether readers like this fact or not) a significant minority. There’ll be no shortage of genuine demand for the first 200million or so doses of the vaccine.
This sets up the prospect that the US could be the first country in the world to fully re-open, and get back to normal, post virus. And while the nature of politics means that Biden will take some of the credit for that, the truth is that the plan that is enabling such swift distribution is very firmly a Trump achievement.
Interestingly, given our coverage of the potential indemnity programme for the vaccine manufacturers being provided by the Irish Government, it’s worth noting that the US has it’s own indemnity arrangement – something called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme, which pays out compensation (about four billion dollars total, over the past thirty years) to those people who claim to have been injured as a result of taking a vaccine. The Covid vaccine will have a similar guarantee from Uncle Sam, so the manufacturers are on pretty safe ground, as they will be in Ireland, the EU, and most other countries. If this all goes wrong, then Governments, not the private sector, will bear the cost.
As we said earlier this week, that’s a highly suboptimal arrangement.
But that aside, what’s interesting here is the extent to which Ireland is becoming a laggard. As of yet, there’s no timetable for when the Irish Government will make the vaccine available, and no plan for its distribution. The US has been working on Operation Warp Speed for months. The British Government is planning to have vaccinations up and running this month. And Dublin? Well, the news is coming soon, we’re told.
We’re not going to beat the Americans, though, that’s for sure.