Pfizer Won't Let Trump Admin Take False Credit For Their Vaccine Progress

by Christina Marfice
Alex Wong/Getty

Pfizer has clarified that it was never part of Operation Warp Speed, despite attempts by Trump and Pence to take credit for its promising vaccine

When Pfizer announced yesterday that early results from large-scale clinical trials showed its coronavirus vaccine could be more than 90 percent effective, the entire world felt a little more optimistic. The novel coronavirus has sickened more than 50 million people globally, and killed over a million — nearly 240,000 in the U.S. alone. Now, this should come as a surprise to no one, but Donald Trump and Mike Pence pretty immediately jumped on that good news, and tried to claim credit for the vaccine by implying it was part of Operation Warp Speed, the government initiative that’s funneled federal funding to pharmaceutical companies to help them speed their vaccine development timelines.

Now, though, Pfizer execs are clarifying: Their company has never taken federal money (or any other outside funding) to help with its vaccine development, as part of Operation Warp Speed or any other program.

Following the initial news announcement from Pfizer, Vice President Pence tweeted that it was “HUGE NEWS” and “thanks to the public-private partnership forged by [Trump].”

Trump also went on a Twitter tirade, claiming that he was the reason the Pfizer vaccine was developed so quickly, and under another president, it would have taken years longer.

But Pfizer executives were quick to correct those statements.

“We were never part of the Warp Speed,” Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, told reporters. “We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”

Soon after Jansen made her statements, a spokesperson for Pfizer clarified that the company will be a part of Operation Warp Speed when it comes time to manufacture and distribute a successful coronavirus vaccine, something that is likely still at least months away. The federal government has promised Pfizer a $1.95 billion contract to manufacture 100 million doses of their vaccine, if it is approved for public use.

At the end of the day, is anyone surprised that Trump is trying to take credit for a vaccine that has literally nothing to do with him? He still hasn’t conceded in the presidential race he lost, and he continues to insist that once “illegal ballots” are discarded, he will prove to be the winner. There is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in this election or any other in American history.

Trump should focus his attention on the drug companies that actually are part of Operation Warp Speed. Several of them have their own vaccines in development, and according to experts, the promising results from the Pfizer study give them hope that other vaccines will be effective, too. The more tools we have to fight this pandemic, the more likely we are to beat it.