Slaoui: Criticism of vaccine distribution ‘a huge misunderstanding’
The former head of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution efforts, Moncef Slaoui, said in an interview published Monday that the public and news media has a “misunderstanding” about what the federal government went through to get a vaccine finished.
In an interview with Science Magazine, Slaoui defended what he said were “exceptional” results from Operation Warp Speed, which the Biden administration has taken over following the new president’s inauguration.
“There has been a huge misunderstanding. Between May  and now, we’ve moved five vaccines into phase III trials, two have been authorized, two are completing phase III — and one of those could be approved imminently,” he said, adding: “By all standards, this is absolutely exceptional.”
Overall, he said, however, the government is “failing” on the vaccine distribution front because the U.S. was yet to reach the point of mass immunization.
“Indeed, the immunization definitely is not working appropriately. And as long as that is not working appropriately, we’re failing. Overall, we’re failing, because the objective is to immunize,” he said.
Slaoui submitted his resignation earlier this month as part of a predetermined plan to stay on briefly to oversee the transition of Operation Warp Speed into Biden’s hands. Biden has yet to name a new scientific adviser for the effort; Gen. Gustave Perna remains the chief operating officer.
Officials in the new administration have been deeply critical of the Trump team’s vaccination plan, saying things were worse than they could have imagined when they took over.
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