Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top disease expert, seemed willing to join the fray into who deserves credit for the speed that coronavirus vaccines were developed and became available to the public.
Fauci was interviewed on a CNN special that aired Sunday night and the discussion arrived at the vaccine effort. Social media pointed out that Fauci appeared willing to take much of the credit completely avoided mentioning former President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.
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“When I saw what happened in New York City, almost over-running of our healthcare systems, and that’s when it became very clear that the decision we made on January 10 to go all out and develop a vaccine, may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made with regard to intervention as the director of the institute,” he said in “COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.”
Trump has made it clear that he believes he deserves the credit for the speed in which the vaccines were developed and has not been bashful in reminding the public.
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” read a statement from the former president earlier this month. “I hope everyone remembers!”
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Jen Psaki, the White House spokeswoman, has refused to give Trump credit for his role in the vaccine rollout. Business Insider reported that she was asked earlier this month if Trump deserves any credit for the vaccine development, and she avoided the question, saying, progress on vaccines was a “Herculean incredible effort by science and by medical experts. And certainly, we’ve applauded that in the past, and we’re happy to applaud that again.”
Trump’s team and Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
In February, Fauci’s boss, Dr. Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health director, praised the Trump administration for the “breathtaking” success of Operation Warp Speed in getting multiple effective coronavirus vaccines developed and tested within one year of the virus outbreak.
“The Operation Warp Speed, for which I give a great deal of credit to [former HHS Secretary Alex Azar], was an effort that many of us were not initially convinced was going to be necessary. And it was thought about as a Manhattan Project,” Collins told Axios.
“Those words were used sometimes to describe what needed to happen in order to get all parts of the government together in an unprecedented way to test up to six vaccines in rigorous trials, and to do this at-risk manufacturing, so that if any of those trials happened to work, you would already have doses ready to go into arms.”
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, took to Twitter shortly after the interview aired, and posted, “If it were up to Fauci we still wouldn’t have a Covid vaccine.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report