HHS Secretary Azar: Operation Warp Speed Reminds Americans ‘To Think Big’

In opening the Vaccination Kick-Off at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke of the “great pride” and “gratitude” which he and other Americans have for the role played by the NIH in developing the COVID-19 vaccines “which will save thousands and thousands of lives and help bring this dark chapter to an end.” NIH’s contribution was not limited to its participation in developing specific COVID-19 vaccines under Operation Warp Speed, but included many prior years of work dedicated to developing mRNA vaccine technology when many thought it was “a longshot,” he reported.

Azar then drew the broader point which is at the heart of the American System of Economics: “Once we have defeated this pandemic, I believe that both the success of Operation Warp Speed and the mRNA platform technology pioneered by NIH and BARDA [Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority] should reinvigorate our optimism about the frontiers of medical science and how we can bring the public and private sectors together to tackle our toughest challenges.

“When I look back on my time at HHS, putting together Operation Warp Speed will be one of my proudest memories, not only because OWS vaccines will save lives, but because they have reminded Americans to think big. When the government and industry charge together toward a really bold goal, we can achieve unbelievable things.”


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