When Pfizer approached Trump administration officials with an opportunity to buy more doses of the pharmaceutical company’s forthcoming covid vaccine, they said, “Nah.”
Or at least this is how I imagine the conversation went down. But I don’t think I’m embellishing too much. According to the Washington Post, Pfizer advised officials in charge of Operation Warp Speed to purchase $200 million doses of the vaccine, since it requires a two-shot regimen. But the officials passed on the offer, buying half the amount of doses instead. Passed!
Their decision means that just 50 million Americans will be able to get Pfizer’s vaccine between now and summer 2021, since Pfizer has reportedly told the Trump administration that the earliest it can deliver additional doses is in June or July.
Other countries—with much smarter government officials than ours, I assume—snapped up the bulk of the company’s supply, the Post reports.
The Trump administration would like us to think this isn’t an issue, arguing that there are several other pharmaceutical companies developing highly effective vaccines as well that they can buy from. I suppose the latter part is true, but nonetheless the decision is completely maddening and objectively insane!
If you’ve named your vaccine initiative Operation Warp Speed it seems pretty shortsighted to turn down millions of doses of a vaccine when they’re offered to you, thus potentially slowing down the process of emerging from the pandemic. The New York Times also reports that Trump is now “scrambling” to secure additional doses for the United States, and along those lines plans to sign an executive order on Tuesday to ensure that Americans get access to the vaccine before it gets distributed overseas.
By the time Trump signs that (likely useless) executive order, many U.K. residents may have already gotten their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which hospitals across Britain are rolling out that same day.