Trump names leaders of ‘Operation Warp Speed’ to fast-track vaccine development

Trump has called his vaccine development plan "Operation Warp Speed."

ABC News – As he ramps up his push to reopen the country, President Donald Trump on Friday announced a former pharmaceutical executive and Army general to lead his administration’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine for a project he called “Operation Warp Speed.”

The announcement comes one day after ousted vaccine chief Rick Bright said there are no plans to distribute a vaccine on an equitable scale and called the timeline of 12 to 18 months being presented “an aggressive schedule.”
Conway said the private sector and the military would also have a role in vaccine development.

“The two new people that the president will be announcing are professionals who are going to help with the vaccination development and indeed are,” she said. “I think you’ll see Secretary Esper there, for example, and General Mark Milley, because the military’s involved as well.”

In an interview with Fox Business that aired Thursday, President Trump said he plans to mobilize the U.S. military to distribute the vaccine when one becomes available, focusing first on older Americans who are among the most at risk.

“I just literally left a meeting. We’re are mobilizing our military — and other forces, but we are mobilizing our military on the basis that we do have a vaccine,” he said. “Our military is now being mobilized so at the end of the year, we’re going to be able to give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly.”

“A lot of optimism is swirling around a 12-to-18-month time frame if everything goes perfectly. We’ve never seen everything go perfectly,” Bright said Thursday before House lawmakers. “I think it’s going to take longer than that to do so.”

On the House floor Friday, members are practicing social distancing and some wearing masks to vote on a historic proxy voting measure and $3 trillion coronavirus relief package — the largest relief bill in U.S. history — which includes another round of direct payments to Americans.

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