This week, Pfizer announced the company has developed a Covid-19 vaccine that is 90 percent effective. For perspective, the measles vaccine is 93 percent effective with one dose and 97 percent effective with two doses. The 2019 flu vaccine was 40-60 percent effective. Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will also require two doses, three weeks apart.
This is great news, especially since researchers have warned that a coronavirus vaccine would likely only be 60-70 percent effective.
Yet there remain many questions. We don’t know when the vaccine will be available or if the vaccine will prevent the most severe cases that require long stays in the hospital and that often lead to death. Researchers also don’t know if it will prevent people from still carrying and spreading the virus. And questions remain about the side effects.
These are all important questions but overall, Americans should celebrate and feel great relief that a vaccine is on the way. This vaccine will help the country—and other countries—return to normal, which is good for the economy, small business owners, schools, and for the mental well-being of all Americans.
In the days since the announcement, there have been claims that Pfizer held onto this information until after the presidential election. Should we be surprised and outraged?
Pfizer likely did hold off to the vaccine announcement and I’m not sure I blame them. If the company had released the information before the election, its leadership would have been accused of helping President Trump in his reelection bid by unhinged Biden supporters and the media (I repeat myself). Of course that’s nonsense but anti-Trumpism is something all businesses have to consider and from a PR perspective, the company probably wanted to avoid charges of helping Trump.
Trump supporters are free to get angry about it and pound their fists but to suggest large corporations don’t consider these issues and public perceptions in a deeply divided time is folly.
Of course it is worth asking, “Would Pfizer have done this if Biden had been president?” Likely no and that’s not fair. But we do live at a time when anti-Trumpism—deranged as it is—is the reality. I sympathize with companies like Pfizer trying to navigate the scene.
In my opinion, the more important question to ask is if holding off the announcement did anything to affect the vaccine’s availability or to impact anyone’s actual health?
Clearly the answer is no because the alleged postponement did nothing to delay Americans actually getting vaccinated. The vaccine isn’t even ready yet.
It’s true that the vaccine news might have helped Trump. Yet, if the Trump campaign didn’t do enough to promote their work to support the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, that’s not Pfizer’s fault. Rage at the campaign or rage at the media. But Pfizer shouldn’t be punished for understandably wanting to avoid a PR nightmare for releasing the information within days of a presidential election.
Trump supporters should take comfort in the fact that a delayed announcement does nothing to change the reality that it was undeniably the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed (read about a Pfizer spokesperson’s shameful attempt to claim they weren’t part of OWS here) that accelerated the development of this new vaccine. President Trump and Vice President Pence deserve the credit for this good news.
The Covid-19 vaccine will be a positive part of Trump’s legacy.