Trump is challenging the timing of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine as politically motivated, says he is being robbed of credit due to him
The vaccine that was supposed to hand a beleaguered US President Donald Trump his second term in office is finally here but it is a tad too late to be of any help to him. Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech have announced that their Coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective in phase three large-scale clinical trials. It has been developed outside the White House’s Operation Warp Speed programme, although the Trump administration placed an initial order for 100 million of the firm’s vaccine doses for $1.95 billion in July. Operation Warp Speed pumped billions of dollars into six other pharmaceutical companies intended to accelerate vaccine development. Even as there was a political storm over the timing of the announcement, President-elect Joe Biden, who made his criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic a centrepiece of his election campaign, congratulated the “brilliant women and men” involved in the research. But he didn’t go overboard and urged the nation to continue wearing masks and maintaining protocols as it would be “many more months before there is widespread vaccination.” Biden’s appeal assumes significance because Trump had repeatedly mocked the former for wearing the face cover during election campaigns. Many Conservatives even contended that masks infringed on their individual freedom. This stubbornness to ignore the advice of experts on Corona protocols has been widely blamed for the fact that the US remains the worst-hit country in the world.
Coming close on the heels of the mandate, the US President, who will be legally challenging the vote count on the grounds of it being a fraud, will also be using the vaccine claim as part of a conspiracy theory. In a renewed push to justify his victimhood, he felt that the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) was politically motivated and should have announced it earlier to save lives. Of course, he disregarded the fact that the scientific community across the world had sworn that they would not be compromised by political arm-twisting and would declare results after they were absolutely sure of trials. The findings may have come in the natural and ethical course of protocols but Trump is not going to let go of the opportunity to claim he fast-tracked it and now was being cheated out of the credit due to him. Vice-President Mike Pence, too, was quick to point out that the vaccine was a result of the Trump administration’s “public-private partnership” initiative. Be that as it may, the fact remains that Trump and Co are responsible for the Corona soup the US is in today and the verdict of the people was against that and the divisive policies based on ethno-nationalism. As far as Biden is concerned, the vaccine will be the cherry on the cake. But will he get rid of “Trumpism” that will dog every move he makes?