The Mail

  • General Gus Perna was two months from retirement in May when Donald Trump asked him to head up Operation Warp Speed, which  aims to get 300 million Americans vaccinated for COVID
  • It is the largest and most expensive vaccination program ever with $12billion already spent 
  • 60 Minutes showed footage of vials rolling off the line at a facility in Baltimore – but did not say which of several competing coronavirus vaccines were being produced there 
  • Perna would not say how many doses had already been prepared, but said the vaccine could be rolled out immediately if approval granted
  • The leading candidate, by Pfizer, could be approved as soon as next month 

The program to vaccinate 300 million Americans against COVID-19 is already well underway, as video from CBS’ 60 Minutes shows hundreds of vials of vaccine being stockpiled ahead of its approval by the FDA

But the four star general tasked by Donald Trump to run Operation Warp Speed said that his biggest fear is people not wanting to take a vaccine. 

General Gus Perna was two months away from retirement when the president asked him to run the program in May. 

His team has spent $12 billion so far – and could spend as much as $26 billion – to come up with a safe vaccine in record time.

Production is already well under way, with doses stockpiled awaiting approval by federal regulators – which could come as early as next month.

60 Minutes showed footage of vials rolling off the line at a facility in Baltimore – but did not say which of several competing coronavirus vaccines were being produced there.

The facilities are currently protected by armed guards, and the shipments, when they go, will also be protected by armed guards. 

In an interview with the CBS show, Perna would not say how many doses were ready to be distributed. 

But he said logistics and production were not the concerns that keep him up at night – as he instead worries about public sentiment. 

‘We get vaccines to the American people and they don’t take them. Shame on us,’ he said.

‘”Hey, I was already sick, I don’t need it.” Shame on us. “Hey, I don’t believe in vaccines.” Shame on us. Just shame on us and it does keep me up at night.’ 

A Pew Research poll conducted in September found about half of US adults (51 per cent) wouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine should one be available today. In May the figure was 72 per cent.

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