Fact Check: It took the Trump Administration 11 months to develop its first COVID vaccine
Former White House senior adviser Stephen Miller made a baseless claim on Friday that if Donald Trump were still President, he would already have an Omicron variant vaccine.
Miller appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” Friday, joining guest host, Tammy Bruce, in a conversation about vaccinations and the latest variant, Omicron. Miller wasted no time jumping on the Trump train to Saywhat? Ville.
“COVID is becoming endemic. It is going to continue to mutate; it’s going to continue to evolve; it’s all around planet Earth,” he said. “If President Trump was still in office, by the way, we’d already have modified vaccines to deal with the new variants.”
He added, “President Trump brought us vaccines in record times, which he made voluntary — not mandatory — and he’d have updates too.”
For the record, the “Omicron” (B.1.1.529) variant which sounds like one of the evil Decepticons from the “Transformers” movies, was first reported to the World Health organization (WHO) from South Africa on Wednesday. However, WHO designated Omicron as a “variant of concern” just this Friday. Creating a vaccine for a variant in 24 hours is just (fill in the blank).
According to Newsweek, “It took the Trump Administration 11 months to develop its first COVID-19 vaccine after the first confirmed case emerged in the U.S. on January 20, 2020. Trump authorized the speedy development of the vaccine under Operation Warp Speed, but it wasn’t available until December 17, 2020.”
Without citing facts or any specific sources, Miller went on to say that Trump “emphasized therapeutics and treatment that’s completely off the table now.”
“As you’re seeing variant after variant and new strain after new strain, at some point, you have to put serious scientific effort into treating the illness both with serious medications like antibodies, as well as more common over-the-counter medications that may be shown in clinical studies to have a positive, provable statistically-significant effect,” he said.
Among the unproven COVID-19 treatments Trump has promoted in speeches and social media are hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, azithromycin and remdesivir. A study published in the Lancet medical journal in May 2020 found that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine – which Trump urged his followers to use – “was tied to an increased risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Reuters reported.
And during a White House coronavirus task force briefing in April 2020, the former president suggested research into whether the coronavirus could be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body. The American Association of Poison Control Center (AAPCC) released figures in May 2020 that the deaths due to accidental poisoning caused by the intake of household disinfectants rose 121% that April.
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