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The O’Toole Chronicles: Operation Warp Speed

By Kevin O'Toole, January 08 2021 6:00 pm

We have closed the books on the awful year of 2020, and we have some good indicators that 2021 should give reason for hope and new beginnings.  We have begun to hear noise, a clamoring, for vaccinations, which is an astonishing thought less than a year since this virus hit our shores.  Some are already carping about botched distribution. Make no mistake about it, we need to inoculate the elderly, health care workers, front line workers, the police, fire, and EMTs immediately. Then we should speed up and provide the vaccine to all the members of the public who choose to take it.  But let’s take a step back.

Operation Warp Speed was started on May 15, 2020 and was designed to streamline the process and pump billions into finding a vaccine for this insidious Covid virus.  The initial budget of $10 billion has now been increased to $18 billion and we are finally on the verge of seeing real results. The federal government is also committing an additional $22 billion for additional testing and distribution.

While we have read and heard about the successes of Pfizer and Moderna in developing and implementing the vaccines, there are at least 5 other serious efforts on-going to develop a vaccine as well.  In addition to Pfizer and Moderna, Operation Warp Speed has committed the billions more to develop badly needed vaccines:

  • J & J has been given $1.4 billion
  • AstraZeneca has been given $1.2 billion
  • Novavax has been given $1.6 billion
  • Merck has been given $38 million
  • Sanofi Glaxo has been given $2.1 billion

While these five collaborations have not been given the greenlight on their vaccines, we anticipate in the second and third quarter of 2021 that help will be arriving in the form of FDA approved vaccinations. I literally recall a moment in mid-March last year, in the middle of discovering the full nature of this pandemic, my partner, Tom Scrivo, said this is when we will see and realize the full potential of American genius and strength—never truer words spoken.

It is reported that Moderna has been granted $2.48 billion dollars to date. Interestingly, Pfizer stated that they did not want to accept funding from Operation Warp Speed, but the United States government gave them an  “advance payment” of $2 billion dollars for 100 million vaccinations, which will serve 50 million people.

As of January 6, 2021, a total of 17 million doses have been distributed and about 5 million vaccines had been administered. The newness of this massive inoculation program is causing some issues. You would think that the various governmental agencies will soon resolve these distribution and administration issues. However, we need for the public to exercise some patience with the implementation so the government can get it right and the hiccups administering the shots can subside.  The Federal government has ordered 400 million doses, which will cover 200 million Americans by July 2021. Those of us who want to take the vaccine, rest assured help is on the way.

The six-month rollout of vaccines from the two FDA approved companies who have actually produced a vaccine is as follows:

Pfizer committed to the following deadline:

  • 25 million doses by December 31, 2020
  • 75 Million doses by March 31, 2021
  • 70 million doses by June 30, 2021
  • 30 million doses by July 31, 2021+

Moderna committed to the following delivery of vaccinations:

  • 20 million doses by December 31, 2020
  • 180 million doses by June 30, 2021

While any success in the production of a vaccine from the other 5 companies will greatly accelerate the full inoculation of our population, it should be noted that we are tracking to have significant dosage of vaccines from the two established providers by July of this year.  We have weathered a lot since March of last year and made amazing strides in fighting this virus, we need to be patient as we allow this once in a lifetime calamity to run its course ever so soon.

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