Remarks by President Trump at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit
South Court Auditorium | Eisenhower Executive Office Building Washington, DC December 9, 2020 2:06 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please. (Applause).
Thank you very much. Appreciate it very much.
I'm honored to welcome doctors, scientists, industry executives, and state and local leaders to our historic Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit. It's been some journey for all of us. It's been an incredible success.
We're grateful to be joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who has done an absolutely incredible job on the Coronavirus Task Force. Mike, thank you. Stand up, Mike. (Applause.) Great job.
We're here to discuss a monumental national achievement. From the instant the coronavirus invaded our shores, we raced into action to develop a safe and effective vaccine at breakneck speed. It would normally take five years, six years, seven years, or even more. In order to achieve this goal, we harnessed the full power of government, the genius of American scientists, and the might of American industry to save millions and millions of lives all over the world. We're just days away from authorization from the FDA, and we're pushing them hard, at which point we will immediately begin mass distribution.
Before Operation Warp Speed, the typical timeframe for development and approval, as you know, could be infinity. And we were very, very happy that we were able to get things done at a level that nobody has ever seen before. The gold standard vaccine has been done in less than nine months.
On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank everyone here today who has been involved in this extraordinary American initiative. I also want to recognize members of my administration who have worked tirelessly in this effort:
Alex Azar. Please, Alex. Where's Alex? Thank you, Alex. Great job. (Applause.)
Moncef Slaoui. Where are you, Moncef? Thank you very much. Great job. (Applause.)
A man who's now going to be very important, General Gus Perna. I have no doubt about it, right? (Applause.) Logistics.
Jared Kushner. He's worked so hard. Where's Jared? Jared, wherever you may be. Thank you. Thank you, Jared. (Applause.)
Dr. Deborah Birx. Deborah? Thank you very much, Deborah. (Applause.)
Admiral Brett Giroir. Where is Brett? (Applause.) Great job you've been doing, Brett.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams. (Applause.) Jerome, thank you very much. Terrific.
Dr. Robert Redfield. (Applause.) Robert, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Administrator Seema Verma. Seema? Thank you. (Applause.)
Dr. Peter Marks. Peter? Where's Peter? Thank you. (Applause.)
Paul Mango, Adam Boehler, and Brad Smith - thank you very much. Great job. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. Incredible job. And many others, also. Many, many others.
We're also grateful to be joined by Governors Greg Abbott. Where's Greg? (Applause.) Bill Lee. Bill? (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Bill. Ron DeSantis. Ron? (Applause.) Thank you, Ron. Thank you. Thank you very much. Great job, Ron. And John Bel Edwards. John Bel. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, John Bel. Thank you very much.
As well as Senator John Barrasso, who is a fantastic doctor, also, by the way, I have to say. (Applause.) When we - when I need info on that subject, I call up John. Thank you, John, very much.
Senator Steve Daines. Congratulations on a great win. Great win. (Applause.) That was easier than you thought, it turned out, right? It was a little easier than you thought. Great going. We're proud of you.
Congressman Greg Walden. Greg, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much.
And Congressman Brad Wenstrup. Thank you, Brad. (Applause.) Great job. And many, many others.
My administration provided a total of $14 billion to accelerate vaccine development and to manufacture all of the top candidates in advance - long in advance.
As a result of this unprecedented investment, we are exceedingly proud that both Pfizer and Moderna have announced that their vaccines are approximately 95 percent effective, which is a number that nobody expected to be able to get to, far exceeding anything that really we - that anybody thought. We went out and we said, "What do you think a maximum would be?" And I think doctors - we all came up to the conclusion that something like that would be really incredible.
And we have other candidates looking right now. We have some big ones that we're going to be announcing very soon. We have some companies - great, great companies out there you all know about: Johnson & Johnson and - and others. And they're all coming in, and they're coming in very quickly. We expect to have some news on that very shortly. And we have worked very well with the companies, but if for any reason we have any problems, we will be instituting the Defense Production Act, and we will make sure that we don't have any problems for very long. We've instituted it before.
Two additional companies, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson - as you know, the Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose, one-shot vaccine, so we're going to see how that works. That would be very helpful if that all came out, and I think it probably will. Also, they're showing tremendous - tremendous promise, all of them. Tremendous prob- -
We're - we're very hopeful that the FDA will authorize the Pfizer vaccine within days. We got to get it moving. And Moderna vaccine almost immediately thereafter. Large numbers of tests and samples have been done, so hopefully that'll go very quickly.
If authorized, tens of millions of vaccine doses will be available this month. And we'll get it distributed very quickly. We have that all set. And hundreds of millions more will quickly follow.
Every American who wants the vaccine will be able to get the vaccine. And we think by spring we're going to be in a position that nobody would have believed possible just a few months ago. (Applause.) Yeah. Amazing. Really amazing. They say it's - they say it's somewhat of a miracle, and I think that's true.
The plan we put forward prioritizes the elderly and patients with underlying conditions, as well as healthcare workers and first responders.
The ultimate decision rests with the governors of the various states - and I hope the governors make wise decisions - who will decide where the vaccines will go in their state and who will get them first. We urge the governors to put America's seniors first, and also, I think those who work with seniors, which obviously you're going to have to do that. I think they have to go together. And doctors, nurses, first responders, et cetera.
This will quickly and dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalizations. And within a short period of time, I think we want to get back to normal. A very standard phrase. We want to just get back to normal, get back to where we were a little more than nine months ago. We were doing incredibly. And in many respects, we're still doing incredibly with our stock markets and everything else, which are hitting all new highs.
We've already finalized a partnership with Walgreens and CVS, whose executives join us today. Thank you very much for being here. Thank you very much. We appreciate it very much. (Applause.) And they will deliver vaccines directly to nursing homes as soon as the states request that they do so.
Later today, General Gus Perna will outline the detailed plan to rapidly distribute the vaccine to every state, territory, and tribe. States have designated over 50,000 sites that will receive the vaccine. We've worked very closely with the states. Actually, we've had very good relationships with the governors - I almost think all of the governors - at least in those conference calls that are somewhat secret, other than sometimes on occasion, Mike, the press will break in, which is fine too. (Laughter.)
It's amazing how you leave those rooms and about 10 seconds later - there wasn't even time for a leak - they were on the call. (Laughter.) But that's all right. So you assume that. You always assume that. But they'll be going through pharmacies, hospitals, healthcare providers.
Through our partnership with FedEx, UPS, and McKesson, we'll ship doses from warehouses directly to the designated sites. And we're thrilled to be joined by representatives of those, really, great American companies. Those companies have worked with us, and they've been incredible to work with. And I want to thank you all for being here. Please, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much.
As I've stated all along - and I guess as you saw pretty vividly. I heard about the - I heard about what they - we're going to show prior to my coming. You saw that very few people thought that this was possible. Of course, they'll be saying now, "We always told you it was so." But we have them saying a little bit different.
But it has been incredible. And it will end the pandemic. It will end the pandemic. And we're working with other nations. As you see actually by looking at your screen today, we're working very closely with other nations also to get the vaccines out to other nations. And that's very important. We work with the world. We're working with the world. We have great companies, and we're working with the world.
In just a few minutes, I'll sign an executive order to ensure that the United States government prioritizes the getting out of the vaccine to American citizens before sending it to other nations.
Now, if necessary, I told you, we'll invoke the Defense Production Act, but we don't think it will be necessary. If it is - it's a very powerful act, as you know, because we've used it very, very successfully.
While we begin to swiftly deploy the vaccine, we'll continue to expand the availability of groundbreaking therapies. Since April, advances in treatments have already helped reduce the mortality rate by 85 percent. Think of that: 85 percent. (Applause.) It's an incredible number.
I've delivered on my solemn promise to make the antibody treatments - they're brilliant; they're highly successful - available to every American, and we're doing that free of cost - totally free of cost. So we're making them available, and they're available now. And if somebody gets sick, it works, where they go and they get treatment if that's what the doctors are prescribing. And it's been incredible, the success.