Trump was right, but Biden gets the glory
Pfizer held off the discovery in what appears to be a petty political gamble
All along we were told a vaccine “by October” was unlikely and that 50-60% efficacy would be OK. On Sept 16, Trump said “a vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready in three or four weeks.” Presumably because he was expecting these results or others like them. On Sept 18th, Biden said he was irrational: ““The idea that there’s going to be a vaccine and everything’s gonna be fine tomorrow – it’s just not rational, not reasonable,” and the Medical Swamp supported Biden.
But Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said a vaccine by October was unlikely. So did Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most prominent and popular member of the White House coronavirus task force. Instead, the vaccine announcement came six days after the election as votes are still being counted in some parts of the country.
Come Nov 10, Markets rocketed with the Pfizer vaccine news.
Truth was, Pfizer was never going to announce potentially game changing vaccine news until after the election. That’s because they changed the original deadline for the interim analysis in October, and hid all the results from themselves until November 4. And we believe them when they say they didn’t peek?
One WhiteHouse official told RealClear Politics: “It is a scandal.” “They intentionally didn’t look at the data when originally planned,” the source told RCP. “And it likely would have been announced in October if they did look at it as originally planned.”
The statement was in reference to the pharmaceutical company’s decision in late October to forgo an initial interim analysis. Instead, as industry journal STAT first reported, Pfizer began the analysis of the trial vaccine the Wednesday after Election Day.
Pfizer takes the cake for petty politicing
Pfizer even went out of their way to say they were not part of Operation Warp Speed, which News outlets reported with satisfaction. But actually, they and their German partner have an agreement to collect $2b from Operation Warp Speed when they deliver, which they admitted the next day. So this is a Trump success (assuming it really does pan out). How many news agencies will tell the world that?
Pfizer has distanced itself from Mr. Trump and Operation Warp Speed. In an interview on Sunday, Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said, “We were never part of the Warp Speed,” adding, “we have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”
On Monday, a spokeswoman for Pfizer clarified that the company is part of Operation Warp Speed as a supplier of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Although it’s true that Pfizer and BioNTech had been working on a vaccine all year before the companies struck their deal with the U.S. government in July, a $1.95 billion deal is nevertheless a significant incentive to keep going.
–Carl Zimmer and Katie Thomas, NY Times
To be even more petty, unverified President-Elect Biden was given the news before the US President.
Pfizers Political Bet may come undone
Pfizer wants the public to trust their health on it, yet it’s willing to play partisan games. Covid was a big issue for many USA voters and clearly if the news had been released before the election it would have helped Trump and hurt Biden. Yet again — the Swamp do everything except put forward good policies, in order to swing the odds.
But right now there are ten other vaccines already in late-stage trials around the world, and with only a few months of data behind the Pfizer one, it’s possible the Pfizer vaccine won’t protect people for long, and may not work well in people over 65 or in young children. These are still only interim results based on 94 infections. There’s a lot of competition out there and other choices may be just as good. If, as Mike Pompeo says, “it will be a smooth transition to a second Trump term” then Pfizer’s behaviour may cost it.
Why did Pfizer take that risk? Perhaps someone whispered in the CEO’s ear in October that they “knew” what the election result would be and Pfizer wanted to curry favour. Or perhaps the CEO of a large multinational high tech firm was dumb enough to believe all the polls?