Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
Don’t count on getting that vaccine anytime soon. We’re on our own, just like we’ve been since the start of this whole thing.
Nobody’s coming to save us.
We know that because Pfizer just announced it won’t be able to provide substantial doses of its coronavirus vaccine until June or July. That’s months later than we last heard, and almost a full year behind what Trump promised everyone. He had a chance to purchase up to 500 million doses of the vaccine over the summer, and he passed it up.
This is just one more failure in a long list of poor decisions by the outgoing administration. Like always, we’ll be the ones who adjust our calendars again and deal with all the consequences.
The reason is a little embarrassing.
We can’t purchase more of the vaccine now because we’re at the back of the queue. According to recent news, “other countries have rushed to buy up most of its supply,” which means “the U.S. government may not be able to ramp up as rapidly as it had expected” and “keep to its aggressive schedule to vaccinate most Americans by late spring or early summer.”
Yes, you read that right. A drug company based in America won’t have enough doses for Americans, because our government botched the purchase. I wish I could say this was a bad science fiction movie, or a political thriller. Unfortunately, it’s just another day in Trumplandia.
Of course, everyone left in Trump’s pitiful orbit is giving excuses. Once again, they’ve killed tens of thousands of Americans through their gross incompetence and criminal negligence.
It gets worse.
While we’re talking about failures in logic, it’s also worth pointing out that nobody on Trump’s team has a plan for distributing the vaccine once they have the doses they did think to order.
In case you’re wondering, it’s going to be difficult. Vaccines like this one have to be transported and stored at -70 Celsius, and they require specialized delivery containers. Thanks to these difficulties, scientists are describing the release of this vaccine as a “last mile,” filled with all kinds of unprecedented challenges we haven’t thought about.
Consider these points:
Refrigerated and freezer trucks, planes and trains that can transport such chilly goods aren’t in huge supply. Cold transportation is also necessary to move bacon, avocados and many other foods and medicines, such as insulin…
According to logistic experts:
Normal systems are not built to take on this large of a challenge in this short of a time frame…
— Tina Hesman Saey, Science News
Pfizer and other companies are working on solutions, but they’re going to be risky and expensive. And as we just found out, the Trump administration already dropped the ball on purchasing enough of the vaccine. Read the Science News article, and it gives you a decent sense of how many more balls are going to drop over the next month.
Oh, and hackers are already trying to disrupt the supply chain.
So there’s that to deal with.
We’re used to it by now.
Biden knows about these challenges, as well as the lack of a detailed plan at this late stage, but he won’t be in charge for a few more weeks. Right now is when our leaders should be figuring out the complicated logistics of a mass cold distribution network.
Look at Trump. He’s clearly not up for it. He’s still sulking over the election and holding super-spreader rallies.
So, this is going to be yet another crucial moment we’re not prepared for, followed by cascade of failures.
We’re used to these kinds of screw-ups.
Anyone with a realistic attitude toward this sham administration learned a long time ago not to trust anything Trump has to say. The same goes for his slightly more diplomatic vice president. This entire time, they’ve been eager to take credit for everything they can think of, while doing as little actual work as possible. They’ve shown no interest in anything other than press conferences and photo ops.
Botched vaccine delivery is business as usual.
Despite the self-congratulations, Trump had nothing to do with the development of the vaccine.
It was developed by Turkish and Greek scientists living in Germany, working for a company that was never even a part of Operation Warp Speed. Not only did they not participate, they resisted Trump’s attempts to bully drug companies to rush through development and testing.
So Trump is trying to take credit for something that he didn’t play a role in creating, and for which he has no real plan.
It’s a disheartening thing to read, but also sadly thematic of the American response in general.
After all, we’ve botched this pandemic at every turn.
We bet everything on miracle cures.
First there’s Trump, who had multiple opportunities to get this disease under control if he’d just listened to his own experts. Instead, he dangled a vaccine in front of voters for months leading up to the election, for purely political reasons. He and his family touted it as just one of several “miracle cures,” all of which evaporated under closer scrutiny.
First it was hydroxychloroquine. Then it was remdesivir. Then it was monoclonal antibody cocktails.
Trump hailed them all as marvels of science. Every single one of them turned out to be fantasies. At best, they have a small impact on the duration of someone’s illness, with zero impact on mortality.
We ignored the only tools we had.
While promising a new cure every week, Trump promoted the deadly notion of heard immunity, despite warnings from every credible doctor and health organization on the planet.
He mocked masks and social distancing, which have been our only reliable strategies. He ridiculed people for using them. While gasping for breath, he told people, “Don’t let it [coronavirus] dominate your life.”
It’s a shame.
Used wisely, masks and distancing could’ve taken us down the path of New Zealand and other countries. They’ve managed a return to normal. We, on the other hand, stand at the brink of a bleak winter, with daily cases and death counts climbing higher than anything we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic. Trump doesn’t care. If he’s not spreading conspiracy theories on Twitter, he’s out playing golf.
It’s game over for America.
The vaccine was our last chance. Like everything else, Trump and his buddies ruined it. They don’t even feel bad.
By the time we get our hands on a vaccine, we’ll be looking at a million deaths or more. Our reality won’t change for another six months. It’s going to be more masks and quarantine, if we can stand it. Joe Biden’s mask mandate will look good, but it won’t have any practical affect. Anyone who’s going to wear a mask is already wearing one.
This is it. This is America’s end game.
About half of us have been real heroes. We’ve lost our routines. We’ve lost our schools and daycares, in some cases permanently. We’ve lost jobs and loved ones. We’re still doing our best. We’re making tough sacrifices every single day, because we know what matters.
The other half, well…
This administration’s failure is complete, and it’s almost a relief. We know who to depend on now. It’s not Trump, or even Pfizer.
It’s ourselves, and each other.