Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared to take credit for the development of the country’s COVID-19 vaccines — without ever mentioning the role of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed campaign.
In a CNN special that aired Sunday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the “best decision” he made was fast-tracking efforts to produce a vaccine.
“When I saw what happened in New York City, almost overrunning of our health care system, it was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ ” Fauci told CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on “COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.”
“And that’s when it became very clear that the decision we made on January the 10th – to go all out and develop a vaccine – may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made with regard to an intervention as director of the institute.”
Trump announced in May that he was launching Operation Warp Speed to develop, manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as “fast as possible.”
Despite the initiative helping drugmakers produce a shot in less than a year, Fauci criticized the administration’s rollout for not having enough momentum.
Fauci did not credit Trump’s Operation Warp Speed campaign.Getty Images
“We would’ve liked to have seen it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today, by the end of the (year) 2020, which was the projection. Obviously, it didn’t happen and that’s disappointing,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Today” show in December.
But Trump said the blame should be placed on states.
“The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states,” he tweeted. “Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!”
Fauci applauds the speed and success of the coronavirus vaccine.AFP via Getty Images
Meanwhile, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins — who is Fauci’s boss — has said the Trump administration deserves credit for the speed with which the vaccines were developed.
“It’s just breathtaking that that got done in 11 months from when we first knew about this virus. It is at least five years faster than it has ever been done before,” he told Axios last month.
Three companies — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — have received emergency-use authorization for their vaccines after developing their shots with assistance from the federal program.