It may take China to let loose the worst disease in a century on the world but it takes an America to find the vaccine that will shut the virus down—and our scientists did it in less than a year!
Once again the United States proves itself to be the indispensable nation. Once again it has proven that when our population of talented minds put their wills to a single goal, miracles can happen.
When the coronavirus first stuck its ugly snout into our midst, there were those who said it would take several years to find a vaccine. This was based on past experience and seemed a reasonable expectation. But it didn’t take into account the indomitable spirit of the American people, and especially American scientists.
The effort to find a vaccine was the modern equivalent of the Manhattan project, except, instead of trying to develop an atomic superweapon to annihilate hundreds of thousands of souls at a malevolent touch—it was a superhuman effort to save lives and to right our society and allow people to resume living their lives in freedom instead of huddling impotently in their homes.
Perhaps an even more apt analogy would be to compare it to the Moon Project, where President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to commit to going to the Moon within the decade.
Unlike those two efforts, this was achieved by private enterprise—undoubtedly with a nudge from the government in the form of Operation Warp Speed, a private-public partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Health & Human Services and other federal agencies, and private drug companies.
In essence it provided government money to help pay for accelerated research and development by private companies that included Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer with the goal of 300 doses of vaccine by January 2021. Those companies were also promised that the government would pay them once they delivered.
The first doses could start being delivered in a week or two. The idea is that the most vulnerable, those who are living in nursing homes, and the most exposed, our first responders, will get those initial doses. And since the great majority of deaths occur in the first category, this is only common sense.
That could mean that we as a people start to emerge from our common nightmare by spring.
To the rest of world who may yet be able to manufacture the vaccine produced by American ingenuity and knowhow: You’re welcome.