The Ondo State Government led by the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN has today 27th of November signed a partnership deal with the Malaysian…
Why Did Pfizer Announce the Covid-19 Vaccine after US Elections?
When the news of headway by one of the Covid-19 Vaccine candidates (Pfizer + BioNTech) was announced yesterday, some said the timing was to reflect a post-Trump era.
Even close Trump associates accused the pharma giant of deliberately pushing the announcement to coincide with a pre-determined agenda.
President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jnr took to Twitter yesterday to cast aspersions on the timing of the announcement, coming after the elections.
Vice President Mike Pence who refused to let it slide without grabbing some credits for the outgoing administration said that support from the US government’s Operation Warp Speed program helped accelerate the development of the vaccine.
I think the fear of politicizing this breakthrough was exactly what Pfizer and partner wanted to avoid. Imagine if this announcement was made say by mid October as earlier planned.
It is my considered opinion that had this announcement been made few days before the election, it could have changed the outcome as President Trump would have milked it dry.
But to what extent did the US government contributed to this breakthrough is the question many do not have the patience to wait for answer. Moreso, this is a collaborative effort that involved other governments as well.
For example, the human testing of the experimental vaccine began in April, before the US government made its Operation Warp Speed public and the company did not receive money from the White House-backed program for its development, clinical trials, or manufacturing because Pfizer made it known that it is not going to take taxpayer dollars.
However, BioNTech, which is credited for contributing the messenger RNA technology behind the vaccine, received $445 million from the German government in September.
But the vast majority of capital flowing into their R&D, as well as building out manufacturing capacity, has come from Pfizer and BioNTech.
The biggest support they got from the United States government was official commitment to buy hundreds of millions of vaccines in advance to ensure Americans were among the first in line if the shot clinches an emergency-use authorization or approval from the regulators.
The Trump administration according to Bloomberg agreed in July to pay almost $2 billion for 100 million doses, with an option to acquire as many as 500 million more, once it is cleared.
Why 600 million units you may ask? Do not forget we were ( or still are depending on how Trump’s loss affects multilateralism in next few months) in an age of Vaccine Nationalism.
The US government wanted it to cover for Americans only. And being that two shots are required per individual, so they reckoned that 600 million will cover at least 300 million Americans.
Put another way, Warp Speed put down a payment for product, rather than making an investment in research. A move business analysts say is both a risk and a guarantee.
And that’s the way Pfizer wants it.
According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Albert Bourla, “I wanted to liberate our scientists from any bureaucracy, when you get money from someone that always comes with strings. They want to see how we are growing to progress, what types of moves you are going to do. They want reports. I didn’t want to have any of that.”
Pfizer’s CEO must be an ardent student of The Bible because Proverbs 22:7 states that “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender”.