‘A Shot to Save the World’ author, Gregory Zuckerman joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the Trump Administration's role in developing the COVID-19 vaccines.
ANDY SERWER: Operation Warp Speed, where do you come out on that? I mean, this is a Trump administration program, controversial. There were some, let's just say, colorful people steering it. But was it effective, Greg?
GREGORY ZUCKERMAN: So, like most every other topic in society today, it's sort of black and white, me against you, either Operation Warp Speed saves everything and we have to give Donald Trump all the credit, or it was useless. I come down somewhere in the middle, meaning that Operation Warp Speed was very helpful. There was a lot of money that was given to these companies, resources too, little parts that were necessary from all over the country that were brought to the necessary spots by Operation Warp Speed employees.
But you also have to remember that Warp Speed made an early bet on a different vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine. It did not give money to Moderna early on when it was desperate for money. And Moderna, as recently as May 2020, was running out of money and couldn't get money from the government, couldn't get money from private industry, from the public, from foundations, from Merck. They went to Merck and. They were almost unable to create these vaccines, one more reason to be grateful for what happened.
So Operation Warp Speed was very helpful. In the end, Moderna did get a lot of money from Operation Warp Speed, others did too. But you don't want to say it was all due to Warp Speed, the success of these remarkable vaccines.