After a doctor claimed that Pfizer did not participate in Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccination program, Ivanka Trump fired back on Twitter to claim the opposite.
“Wrong,” Ivanka wrote. “Pfizer did not take Fed dollars for research, but instead signed a logistics agreement with Trump’s administration this JULY & to receive $1.95 billion for +100 million doses of their vaccines when they are approved for the [American] people.
It provided a link to a July 22 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) press release when the government agency announced an agreement with Pfizer “for the large-scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID 19 vaccine in the United States upon successful manufacturing and approval of the vaccine.
In response to the tweet from Linda Girgis, the physician behind the claim about Pfizer’s involvement in Operation Warp Speed, Ivanka wrote: “Be happy. This is a great day for health!”
Pfizer did not take any research funds from the US Federal Reserve, but signed a logistics agreement with the Trump Admin this JULY and received $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of their vaccine when it is approved for the people of ðºð¸ â¬ï¸https://t.co/zrzd31XyT7
Be happy. This is a great day for health! https://t.co/dpxoiJuAF8
– Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 9, 2020
Early Monday morning, Pfizer announced that its coronavirus vaccine was 90 percent effective based on early and incomplete test results.
Ivanka tweeted the news and thanked her father, President Donald Trump, for his “tireless work” in the effort to develop the coronavirus vaccine.
Others quickly called on the Trump administration for taking credit for the vaccine, noting that the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, Dr. Kathrin Jansen, had previously said that the trial “never took money from the U.S. government or anyone else.
However, while Pfizer did not take research funds from the federal government, a Pfizer spokesperson clarified his relationship with Operation Wrap Speed.
“Pfizer is one of several vaccine manufacturers participating in Operation Warp Speed as a supplier of a potential COVID 19 vaccine. Although Pfizer has entered into an upfront purchase agreement with the U.S. government, the company did not accept BARDA funding for the research and development process,” the company said in a statement. BARDA refers to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the HHS.
“All research and development investments were made by Pfizer at risk. Dr. Jansen emphasized this last point,” said the spokesperson.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in September that the company had refused R&D funding in order to “free scientists from bureaucratic restrictions”.
“At the end of the day, it’s just money. The company won’t break that, although it will be painful because we are investing at least one and a half billion in COVID right now,” Bourla told CBS News earlier. “But the reason why I did it was because I wanted to free our scientists from all bureaucracy”.
Pfizer is now on track to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval of its vaccine. However, health authorities, including infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, have stressed that a vaccine will not be widely available before the end of the year.
The news of an effective vaccine is coming as experts predict that the US will face the worst outbreak of the virus. The country exceeded more than 10 million cases on Sunday.
Amidst the ongoing health crisis and medical developments, President-elect Joe Biden has already assembled a 13-member coronavirus task force.
Washington Newsday contacted Girgis, a general practitioner in New Jersey, with a request for comments, but received no response before the publication.