President Donald Trump released a video statement Friday evening after the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for the general public under an emergency use authorization, lauding America’s capacity to develop a “medical miracle” in record time and the capacity of Operation Warp Speed to bring a vaccine to the America public before the end of the year.
“We have delivered a safe and effective vaccine in just nine months. This is one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history,” said Trump from the Oval Office in a video Friday. “It will save millions of lives and soon end the pandemic once and for all.”
“We have given Pfizer and other companies a great deal of money, hoping this would be the outcome, and it was,” he said. “On behalf of the American people, I’d like to thank all of the brilliant scientists, technicians, doctors, and workers who made this all possible.”
Trump also noted that the vaccine would be free, and the first inoculations would be administered in “less than 24 hours.” Back in November, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla also said that the first inoculations could begin within hours of FDA emergency approval.
In recent weeks, Pfizer and Moderna, the two pharmaceutical companies working on mRNA vaccines, announced that their vaccine candidates were over 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. The FDA recently corroborated Pfizer’s findings, saying that the now-approved vaccine was 95% effective against COVID-19 in clinical trials under the two-dose regimen, which spaces the two inoculations three weeks apart.
“These vaccines are also very safe,” the president continued, noting the size of the trials and American participation. “The dedicated and independent experts at the FDA meticulously studied the results of the trials, and it has now passed the gold standard of safety.”
Trump, who said vaccine distribution would be left to the states, also said “we want our senior citizens, health care workers, and first responders to be first in line” in order to reduce deaths among the American population quickly. “The pandemic may have begun in China, but we are ending it right here in America.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2020
The FDA will hold an advisory panel meeting next week for independent experts to discuss the possibility of approving the Moderna vaccine for adults. On Thursday, a similar panel voted 17-4 in favor of approving the Pfizer vaccine, with at least two of the four hold-outs noting they only voted against because of the language of the recommendation allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to receive it.
Should the Moderna vaccine be approved, the U.S. government expects to have an additional 15 million doses of the vaccine in December 2020, on top of the 25 million vaccines expected from Pfizer in the same month, according to Stat News. Pfizer has agreed to produce 100 million vaccines for the United States before the end of March 2021, and Moderna has agreed to produce an equal number in the same time frame should its vaccine be approved, as well as an additional 100 million before the end of June 2021.