Biden to rename Operation Warp Speed, elevates science adviser to cabinet position

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Operation Warp Speed will no longer be called by that name when Joe Biden’s administration is up and running. A decision has been made to wipe that moniker away and replace it with one that Biden’s team hopes will instill more confidence in the vaccines.

Let’s be honest, though. Operation Warp Speed is Trump’s legacy and a really good one at that. Never has a vaccine been developed, manufactured, and distributed so quickly. Biden is looking to eliminate as much as possible of Trump’s policies and accomplishments during his term in office and this petty move is a part of that mindset. Team Biden justifies the name change because they say that while the push for the vaccine was successful, the operation has not met expectations for getting the vaccine distributed and into the arms of people. The name implies to some people who are hesitant to receive the vaccine a rushed, maybe inferior product being offered.

Here’s the thing – any worry over the effectiveness of the vaccine or the safety of it was caused by the very people who now want to rename the operation. Before the vaccine was ready to be distributed, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, plus lots of other Trump critics (Democrats) made a point of saying to anyone who would listen that they would hesitate or even refuse to take the vaccination if it was developed and made available during Trump’s time in office. They sounded like anti-vaxxers instead of praising the efforts of scientists and the most impressive public-private partnership in recent times. They managed to instill enough doubt and fear into people that now every public official or familiar face available has received a vaccination in front of cameras to reassure the public of its safety.

The Biden administration wants its own name so the Operation Warp Speed moniker will be replaced. Many officials working on the program will remain as the new administration comes in. Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki explained the change. Biden’s promise to get 100 million shots into arms by his first 100 days in office is a part of the focus on distribution. That’s a catchy goal but they are likely setting themselves up for failure.

“OWS is the Trump team’s name for their program,” Ms. Psaki wrote on Twitter, using the program’s initials. “We are phasing in a new structure, which will have a different name than OWS. Many of the public servants will be essential to our response, but urgent need to address failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution.”

The announcement came as Operation Warp Speed faced new fury after indicating that more doses from a stockpile would be sent to states. But federal officials have since clarified that the doses are actually from a tranche saved for second doses.

Ms. Psaki added that the Biden Covid response would be run out of the White House. Dr. Bechara Choucair, a former commissioner of Chicago’s health department, will “oversee vaccinations efforts,” Ms. Psaki said, including working to fulfill Mr. Biden’s promise of getting “100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” by his 100th day in office.

Biden asked Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, to oversee the acceleration of the development, manufacture, and distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Kessler is a retread from both the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He became more popular with Democrats than Republicans in his old job after some controversial actions. He has been an adviser to Biden and is a co-chair of the transition team’s Covid-19 task force. Kessler will replace Dr. Moncef Slaoui. Slaoui will stay on as a consultant. Gen. Gustave F. Perna will continue as the chief operating officer.

Biden frequently says he will listen to the scientists in making important policy decisions. The members of the Party of Science, though, were the first to slam Operation Warp Speed instead of acknowledging its historic significance. Rather than give Trump’s administration the credit, they sounded childish and partisan. Often Joe Biden sounds as though he thinks if he says the word ‘science’ enough, his ideas will be legit. Biden nominated Eric Lander to be his science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Friday. He also elevated the position to a cabinet-level one. Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ironically, when making the announcement of Lander’s nomination, Biden spoke about a conversation he had with Xi Jinping during his days as vice-president. He said, “He asked me if I could explain America to him. And I said, “Yes, I could. In one word: Possibilities.” Ah, yes. How about the possibility of the Biden bunch making a whole lot of money with some shady deals during that time, Joe? Never mind.

Biden presented five areas the science team will be focused on:

First, the pandemic and what can we learn about what is possible, or what should be possible,
to address the widest range of our public health needs?

Second, the economy, and how can we build back better to ensure prosperity is fully shared across America and among all Americans?

Third, how can science help us confront the climate crisis with American jobs and ingenuity?

Fourth, how can we ensure the United States leads the world in the technologies and industries of the future that will be critical to our economic prosperity and national security, especially as we compete with China and other nations?

And fifth, how can we ensure the long-term health and trust in science and technology in our nation?

Kessler is reported to be close with Dr. Fauci. They worked closely together to speed the development and approval of drugs during the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. There still is no vaccine for AIDS, though, so take this partnership and everything else Joe Biden says with a grain of salt.





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