Dr. Anthony Fauci is appearing to take full credit for the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, saying it was the “best decision” he has ever made, but failed to mention that it was actually former President Trump decision and his administration’s Operation Warp Speed who created the groundbreaking vaccine in record time.
In a CNN documentary special, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the vaccine was the “best decision” was overseeing the fast-tracking efforts to produce a vaccine back in January, when asked which moment from the pandemic was “the big one.”
“Was there a moment, Dr. Fauci, when you said, ‘OK this is the big one?'” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked Fauci about the pandemic during the CNN special that aired Sunday “COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.”
“When I saw what happened in New York City, almost overrunning of our health care system, it was like, ‘Oh my goodness,'” Fauci said in response. “And that’s when it became very clear that the decision we made on January the 10th – to go all out and develop a vaccine – may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made with regard to an intervention as director of the institute.”
Trump announced in May the launch of Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership federal effort to develop, manufacture and distribute the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus by the end of the year.
“Operation Warp Speed has brought together all of the experts across the federal government from places like the NIH, CDC, FDA, and many other agencies. This historic partnership will now bring together the full resources of the Department of Health and Human Services with the Department of Defense,” Trump stated back on May 15, 2020, when unveiling Operation Warp Speed.
Trump’s senior aide, Jason Miller responded to Fauci’s vaccine remark on Twitter.
“If it were up to Fauci we still wouldn’t have a Covid vaccine,” Miller tweeted shortly after the interview aired.
Fauci was one of the lead members of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force and had no formal role in Operation Warp Speed. During Trump’s tenure, Fauci was never been publicly named as a key figure of Operation Warp Speed.
CNN’s host Gupta seemed to overlook the role that Operation Warp Speed played in the development of the vaccines and gave credit to Fauci for “oversaw” what he said was the “life-saving and record-breaking vaccines.”
“The life-saving and record-breaking vaccines that Dr. Fauci oversaw were a giant success for the doctors and for science and for the world,” Gupta said in a voiceover after Fauci’s remark.
Trump has made it clear the credit for the speed in which the vaccines belong to him as his successor as the new administration continues to be bashful while taking credit otherwise.
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” Trump said in a statement earlier this month. “I hope everyone remembers!”
Earlier this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki flatly refused to give credit to the Trump administration for developing the Coronavirus vaccine at record time after being reminded that President Biden currently depends on the Trump administration’s playbook for vaccine manufacturing and distribution rollout.
“I don’t think anyone deserves credit when half a million people in the country have died of this pandemic,” Psaki said in response.
In February, Fauci’s boss, Dr. Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health director, praised the Trump administration for the “breathtaking” success of Operation Warp Speed in getting multiple effective coronavirus vaccines developed and tested within one year of the virus outbreak.
“The Operation Warp Speed, for which I give a great deal of credit to [former HHS Secretary Alex Azar], was an effort that many of us were not initially convinced was going to be necessary. And it was thought about as a Manhattan Project,” Collins told Axios.
After nine months since the announcement of Operation Warp Speed, the first vaccination was administered in December, a month before Biden took office. Under the federal government efforts, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) was making more than 8 million doses a week available through its distribution program as the distribution of vaccine were rapidly increasing daily during the month Trump was still in office.
The CNN special featured interviews with six medical doctors, all of who were part of the Coronavirus Task Force and played key roles in the pandemic response, including Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Robert Kadlec, Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Stephen Hahn, and Dr. Brett Giroir.