By Dean Baker
The Washington Post tells us that 7.7 million first doses of vaccines have been shipped to date (two million shots have been given), with a target of 16 million by the end of the year. This is warp speed?
By comparison, we manage to get over 170 million flu shots in people’s arms every year, without any heroic efforts by the government and the military. Most of those doses are given over roughly a four-month period, which means a bit less than 1.5 million a day. That puts our flu shot delivery system ahead of Donald Trump’s warp speed. What the f**k?
Last week I wrote a piece asking why we didn’t have 400 million doses of vaccines on hand by the start of December. Of course production takes time, and we didn’t know back in the summer which vaccines would prove effective, but so what?
We could have started mass production of every vaccine that entered Phase 3 trials. If some of them proved to be ineffective, we would have wasted some money, but the cost would be trivial. The per shot cost of a vaccine is in the range of $2-$4. This means if we had to throw 200 million vaccines in the toilet, we would have wasted $800 million dollars, using the higher end estimate. That is less than 20 percent of the two-year cost of Donald Trump’s three martini lunch tax break and less than 1 percent of the size of the double-dip tax break, allowing companies to write off expenses that were reimbursed under the paycheck protection program.
Along with massive production of vaccines, they should have been pre-positioned to allow for faster distribution. We should have had major warehouses located around the country so that as soon as the FDA green-lighted a vaccine, it could quickly be delivered to hospitals and clinics in every corner of the country.
The basic point here is that we have two distinct processes. One is the manufacture and distribution of the vaccines. The other is the determination that they are safe and effective. These can go on simultaneously.
We should have been prepared to start inoculating millions of people the day a vaccine was approved. This is a massive policy failure, or as Donald Trump would say, #MAGA!
Dean Baker is an economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The author of several books, his analyses have appeared in many major publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the London Financial Times, and the New York Daily News. This piece originally appeared at his CEPR blog.
a concerned observer says
Before any readers get whipped up in yet more Trump Bashing, please click on the Center for Economic and Policy Research link, the author of this article, and read the “About Us” section of their website and the bios on its founder. Readers have a fiduciary obligation to know who writes this stuff before they take it at face value. The Center for Economic and Policy Research is, to say the least, a left leaning organizations with a decidedly political agenda to push. Maybe even more so then Flagler Live. Just saying…
YEAH And the Orange Blowhard as my late Mother used to say “could screw up a High Mass”. Thanks for the heads up but I dont need anyone or source to know everything 45 touches is ruined. Toxic unqualified liar cheat fraud scam failure. As folks die or sit and wait for a vaccine his Modus Operandi is over throwing an Election he lost by a landslide over 8 weeks ago. Where is HE. Golfing whining and crying a river. As the Pandemic rolls on its about HIM only. Keep sucking on the orange koolaid popsicle
Mikey Eyes says
Written by another Trump hater who said it was impossible to have a vaccine this year! Vaccines normally take years to get approved!! This is a remarkable achievement! Make believe in your mind Mr. Dean Baker Barack Obama brought the vaccine to the world this fast. You wouldn’t be writing silly stuff!
Jessica Smith says
LOL! Trump had absolutely ZERO to do with creating these vaccines. The drug company researchers and labs did that. If he would been involved in creating these vaccines we would have had vaccines that were completely ineffective. Just like all of his businesses have been ineffective. Even when he lies, cheats and steals; it ends in failure. Trump is a LOSER and a FAILURE!
Look at the disaster this vaccine rollout is with him in charge. Warp Speed my foot! Totally unprepared for the rollout of the vaccine.
It’s the Trump Virus and his vaccine would be spiked with Pervitin. No Thx
Why don’t you spend your $800 mil on taking a chance? After All it’s just a drop in the bucket. If it was for Trump we would still be waiting for an approved vaccine. Maybe we would be waiting for years. From what I have seen it is up to the states (governors) , not Trump, how to give and who gets the shots. If you could do a better job then step up!
Well, according to Biden, this is going to be slower than anticipated/expected. Biden has his 100 day challenge of 100 million vaccines delivered & administered and he would invoke the military defense protocol for that (Biden sounds like exactly like Trump with every passing day that he transitions, yet Trump is a liar & Trump-Pence didn’t care about Americans in 2020). These are vaccines, made in Pfizer & Moderna labs, what is that capacity for production ? That’s a math formula for time & quantity of producing these widgets. Then you have to distribute that lot of vaccines and get the general public scheduled to be vaccinated at a facility. Last I read those facilities are booked thru the end of Feb 2021 already. See part of this is the documentation, the packaging, the counting of those inoculated.
What happened to the mass testing model they implemented in 2020 ? That sb the same for vaccines ? For Volusia County, carloads of families & individuals drive to Daytona International Speedway, roll their windows down, roll up their shirt sleeves and get their inoculation on the shoulder. I think Biden dropped his trousers when he got his 1st vaccine shot. I suspect they would use a scanner and some sort of healthcare ID or DL/State ID into the system to be uploaded into a database. You do realize Trump or Biden have to count these to get credit for saving the world ? what is more important, elaborate packaging & counting vaccinations or the fact that people were vaccinated. The author spoke of phase 3 testing vaccines produced that may have turned out to be waste. So who cares if anyone documents the vaccine 7 counts them as accurately, so long as the vaccination process is at full operating speed. I recall when we got our vaccines in grade school, every student got that and it was mass production. They could get the children at schools on the first day back from Christmas break here, faculty & administration too ? Those kids learning from home & online ? After the in class students leave for the day, make the on-line kids be required to show up to the gymnasium or athletic field(s) for their shot(s). I know this will have to be a coordinated effort and won’t be easier than me typing them as suggestion(s), but it’s not like this hasn’t ever been done for similar inoculations, And does it matter if there is a day or few slippage of schedule for logistics, those kids are supposed to be in school 5 days a week anyway. When there was no vaccine, it wasn’t any different for exposure. And let’s address that 800 lb pink gorilla in the room. It’s still a vaccine, at best, not a cure, no guarantee of immunity even. And there is now supposedly a more volatile strain of the Coronavirus confirmed in California & Colorado (that really doesn’t shock me with the illegal immigration surge & spike since Biden apparently won the Nov 3rd election).
Anyway, keep flogging Trump for a pandemic that Biden or any other world leader hasn’t resolved. It’s absurd to even take the Mr. Dean Baker seriously. I certainly hope he is as critical of Biden-Harris as hard as he does Trump-Pence. Biden-Harris might be perceived as more compassionate, but facts are facts, & no amount of hugs changes the time requirements of this. Dean Baker makes it sound like this is Coca Cola bottling soda & distributing it. This is a new vaccine, not every facility is set up to manufacture it just yet. I would think the current vaccination network could handle the vaccines like they do for the flu.
Art Friedman says
Another writer not responsible for anything criticizing those who have created the fastest vaccine in history. Based on all that I have read the administration has done EVERY ONE of the things you say they should have done. The entire response to the pandemic has been completely unprecedented. Yes mistakes have been made – like for example the Japanese government refusing to allow the Diamond Princess passengers off thereby creating a total disaster. But they made the best decision they could at the time based on what they knew at the time. Comparing this to flu is ridiculous. Of course I am sure based on the trash you write for that you believe Biden will fix everything – just like he said he would! Can’t wait to see him fall on his a**, He has no more idea of what to do to improve things than the man in the moon. NOBODY does. Everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances of something never before confronted. You writers of this dribble make me sick!
Nope, incorrect. Trump held information from the start on this virus. He OWNS it 100%. Its all his and the lack of urgency on his part is despicable. His “its going away” and “maybe we can swallow bleach to cure it” shows his complete ignorance to this issues as he has with many others. The worse time of the virus and this do nothing president plays golf. GOLF. He owns every single 330,000 plus lost lives. ALL HIS.
Oh, and yes I’m a life long Republican. 43yrs. He has ruined what was the greatest political party in the country.
Huwon Sing says
Ron DeSantis showed real leadership on Wednesday when he told reporters that he does not plan to get the coronavirus vaccine until the elderly in the sunshine state get it first.
Certainly not his ‘biggest screw up’. Not even close.
Abdication of his oath of office is his biggest screw up:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
If 7.7 million first doses of vaccines have been shipped to date and only two million shots have been given, the current problem appears to be incompetent governors not the Trump administration.
This guys op-ed is all about trashing Trump and Operation Warp Speed. He’s just another A-Hole who has no agenda other than to bitch about Trump. Notice how he completely overlooked how fast OWS helped in developing not only one vaccine but two that are over 95% effective. Nothing about all of the hard work by many vaccine manufactures or volunteers who took part in the testing of the vaccines. Only about how SLOW the delivery system is as compared to a decades old Flu Shot program. With his insight and expertise in this specific medical field maybe he should have volunteered to be part of the Operation Warp Speed program making sure that it met and followed HIS expectations.
Mike Cocchiola says
Biggest screwup? Hard to tell because there’s been so many. But, I expect that any screwup costing 10s of thousands of lives is at the top of most lists. But close behind are his attacks on the U.S. Constitution, on the integrity of our voting process, and on our democratic form of government.
The wicked king is dead. Long live President Biden. Flagler Trumplicans can now throw their signs into the trash bin and burn their MAGA hats and Trump masks. No, wait! The Trump masks are the only ones they’ll wear, so keep those until we’re all inoculated… sometime in 2030.
Every day we are getting closer to the end of a mistake.
A very deadly mistake but the past can’t be fixed, soon we will have a government with professionals working for us the American People. Their goals will not be to fill the pockets of a greedy emperor and his scions and to keep the cantankerous child from crying wolf or being cruel. It will take a long time for people who where fooled to see the truth but eventually our Constitution and our Republic will survive. We should all work toward making America the beacon that it was.
Happy New Year everybody.
Quit your Bitchin says
This cupcake is damn lucky a vaccine was even created for the virus in under a year. Now just wait until the next variant of this virus gets loose. Let’s hear you bitch and complain about Biden not doing anything to save Americans…… You liberals SUCK !!!!!
Bill May says
The states are responsible for who gets the vaccines in the states and the overall manage of the process. The CDC made recommendations and most states followed them. Do you morons want the federal government to send people to every city and town to supervise this? Pretty soon when Biden is put in office and later removed by the DNC, there will be plenty of government control. Your Trump bashing is really making you look silly. Hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Respectfully.
@Murder by ANY name
“In United States law, depraved-heart murder, also known as depraved-indifference murder, is a type of murder where an individual acts with a “depraved indifference” to human life and where such act results in a death, despite that individual not explicitly intending to kill. In a depraved-heart murder, defendants commit an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to a person. If the risk of death or bodily harm is great enough, ignoring it demonstrates a “depraved indifference” to human life and the resulting death is considered to have been committed with malice aforethought…”
“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.”
How about you “experts” provide some positive input. Your bias and negative attitude is NOT helping. Everyone is depressed and fearful of this whole COVID situation. This is why I don’t want to help this publication any help. It is a one way down with Trump agenda. How about a little bit of reporting for the other half of the country, I need some positivity. Quit blaming this man for everything, Obama was and is the worst President ever. The only reason I look at this “paper” is for local news. Before I moved here I donated, now your anti-Trump rhetoric has locked my purse to you.
PS this article sucks.
John Stove says
This President and his administration has been a Clusterf**K since day one. They have had months to set up a method to quickly distribute and provide the vaccination when it was ready and all they wanted to do was go on TV and hold rallies for their doomed re-election campaign.
Now the vaccine is ready for the long suffering American public and what is he doing?…..golfing. Can this guy and his supporters be more moronic?
Like the spoiled brat that he is, he lost the election and now he wants to take his ball and go home and pout.
Want to be a real President?…..should have stayed in D.C. rolled up his sleeves and get his staff in a room and work the phones, meet with Governors etc etc and get the vaccine delivered and administered.
WORST PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES
The Voice Of Reason says
The pharmaceutical companies did a great job. After that, the process took a dump. Trump and his disgrace of an administration completely dropped the ball. Pence as head of covid response was missing in action. Someone competent should have been put in charge of distribution of vaccines from the moment they shipped from warehouses. Someone with expertise in logistics. The governors obviously aren’t up to the task. They needed a playbook handed to them to proceed. Florida certainly bungled it. First responders and medical personal should have been first. Then, an appointment system should have been used. No first come first served. No camping out. If you showed up without an appointment, you should be TURNED AWAY. It’s not rocket science.
Jan. 20th cannot come fast enough!!!!!
Breaking News- The Washington Post has an audio tape of trump spending an hour on the phone twisting the arm of a Georgia election official demanding that he “find” votes for trump:
ATLANTA (AP) — President Donald Trump badgered and pleaded with Georgia’s election chief to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state, suggesting in a telephone call that the official “find” enough votes to hand Trump the victory.
The conversation Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The renewed intervention and the persistent and unfounded claims of fraud by the first president to lose reelection in almost 30 years come nearly two weeks before Trump leaves office and two days before twin runoffs in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate.
Trump confirmed in a tweet Sunday that he had spoken with Georgia’s secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, a day earlier.
Audio snippets of the conversation were posted online by The Washington Post. A recording of the call was later obtained by The Associated Press from a person who was on the call.
The president, who has refused to accept his loss to the Democratic president-elect, is heard telling Raffensperger at one point: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
Georgia certified election results showing that Biden won the state’s Nov. 3 election by 11,779 votes.
The White House referred questions to Trump’s reelection campaign, which did not respond Sunday to an emailed request for comment. Raffensperger’s office did not respond to a text message seeking comment.
Trump has repeatedly attacked how Raffensperger ran Georgia’s elections, claiming without evidence that the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly given to Biden.
“He has no clue!” Trump tweeted of Raffensperger, saying the state official “was unwilling, or unable” to answer questions about a series of claims about ballot handling and voters that have been debunked or shot down by judges and election authorities.
Raffensperger’s Twitter response: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”
There was no widespread fraud in the election, which a range of election officials across the country, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, have also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices.
Sheila Zinkerman says
Let’s give credit where credit is due. The US government under President Trump pledged more than 10 billion to companies working on COVID19 vaccine as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. Bang! Good start with government incentives. However, it was the documentation of past domestic and global scientific research in respiratory viruses that led (in part) to the quick development of a COVID19 vaccine.
HuffPost journalists spoke to 3 experts about the speed at which the COVID19 vaccine was developed. Dr Thad Stappenbeck, Cleveland Clinic states that “A lot of work that would have taken years and years and years to develop – to do in animal models – had essentially already been done.” In addition, other key factors about how prior research was key in the rapid vaccine rollout was discussed. For example:
1. Scientists already had a body of research on mRNA vaccines (Messenger RNA)
2. The vaccine effort involved global scientific research
3. Scientists had a body of research from 2 decades of different coronaviruses
Hat tip to scientists and money.
I have just spent this morning getting up before dawn, setting up two computers to the http://www.publix.com/covidvaccine site, only to watch the number of covid-19 appointments in Flagler and two adjacent counties, evaporate. This was the way my 82 y.o. husband and I, (who will 80 this summer), have spent the past four weeks; playing Ron DeSantis’s vaccine version of LOTTO. First of all, Publix sells FOOD, people! Why they’ve been picked to schedule appointments and and administer vaccine was incomprehensible until it was revealed that the heiress to Publix is one of DeSantis’s biggest political donors and organizational skills are not their strong points. Okay, not surprised. But this morning I noted that 5 counties seemed to have a sizable surplus of appointments when all other counties were completely booked. In checking location and population size (U.S. Census Bureau 4/1/10 – 7/1/19, Population Division.), all 5 counties: Walton, Santa Rosa, Bay. Okaloosa and Escambia, are ALL in the Panhandle, near the Alabama border. These are all conservative, republican counties and Walton’s population of 68, 262 is even lower than Flagler’s 109,801._Florida. demographics.com. So how did they wind up with 328 extra slots, especially since they are adjacent to Sta. Rosa (461), Okaloosa (487), Escambia (518) and Bay (445)? Should be easier for them to share than it is for my husband and me to schlep there from Flagler. Frankly, if hope springs eternal, the “springs” of my eternal hope are begging to sag.Badly.