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Secretary Azar White House Remarks on Operation Warp Speed

Alex M. Azar II
White House
May 15, 2020
Washington, D.C.

As prepared for delivery

Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership of this historic effort.

Your vision for Operation Warp Speed, with a vaccine by January 2021, will be one of the great scientific and humanitarian accomplishments in history.

You decided that the typical timelines weren’t good enough, you directed me and the Secretary of Defense to get done, and today, you’re announcing the dream team that will get us to the finish line.

Dr. Slaoui is arguably the world’s most experienced and successful vaccine developer, responsible for some of the major recent breakthroughs in vaccines.

General Perna oversees one of the world’s largest logistics and supply chain operations: the one that keeps the U.S. Army running.

Three highly accomplished career HHS scientists will oversee each area of OWS: Dr. Peter Marks of FDA, for vaccines; Dr. Janet Woodcock of FDA, for therapeutics; and Dr. Bruce Tromberg of NIH, for diagnostics.

The President’s administration started work on each of these areas in January, and Congress has provided nearly $10 billion explicitly for this kind of research effort.

Operation Warp Speed will integrate existing efforts that are coordinating vaccine, therapeutic, and countermeasure development, including NIH’s ACTIV and RADx initiatives.

The President wanted to ensure we can get a vaccine to patients as soon as it’s ready, which is why HHS and DOD this week announced new contracts to manufacture hundreds of millions of needles and syringes, here in America.

Finally, the President insisted not only that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics faster, but that we get large donations of the eventual products, so they’re affordable for the American people.

So thank you, Mr. President, for leading this effort, and thank you to all of the American scientists and innovators, at HHS, at DOD, and elsewhere, who are hard at work on it already.

And I really want to express my personal appreciation to Secretary Esper and the Department of Defense because this partnership is what's going to make this truly a historic endeavor. 

Thank you.

Content created by Speechwriting and Editorial Division 
Content last reviewed on May 15, 2020