After Dr. Fauci poured cold water on President Trump's hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine "October surprise", the White House vaccine czar in an interview with National Public Radio, joined the pile on.
Head of the White House's vaccine program Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser for the White House vaccine program, said Thursday that it was “extremely unlikely but not impossible” that a vaccine could be available by All Saint's Day.
We have every reason to take Slaoui's view seriously. After all, he's not just the coordinator of the White House Program: He is (was?) also a Moderna shareholder.
While Slaoui, who is in charge of "Operation Warp Speed" the collaboration between the White House and the top private vaccine groups, said the administration's guidance to states to prepare to distribute vaccine courses by early November was “the right thing to do” in case a vaccine was ready by that time, there's a "very, very low chance."
“It would be irresponsible not to be ready if that was the case,” he said.
As the NYT pointed out, Slaoui's assertions "ran counter to the optimistic assertions in recent days from the White House that a vaccine could be ready for distribution before Election Day in November."
During his nomination speech at the RNC, President Trump said a vaccine could be ready “before the end of the year or maybe even sooner.” And he and others have tried to project confidence in a quick victory.
Slaoui, meanwhile, confirmed that the two main candidates in "OWS" - referred to as Vaccine A and Vaccine B - are the candidates being developed by Pfizer and Moderna. Defending FDA chief Dr. Stephen Hahn's claim that the FDA would be open to approve a vaccine for emergency use before all the Phase 3 trial data were in, Slaoui said there was “no intent” to introduce a vaccine before clinical trials were completed, and that an independent safety board would need to sign off on before any approvals, even emergency approvals, are given.
Pressed about claims that the quest for a vaccine had become "politicized", Dr. Slaoui responded that "for us there is absolutely nothing to do with politics...Many of us may or may not be supportive of this administration. It’s irrelevant, frankly.”