WATCH: Barrasso Says COVID Vaccine Deliveries Could Commence This Month
Wyoming US Senator John Barrasso recently appeared on Fox News to discuss the release of the COVID-19 vaccination, as well as talk of a new stimulus package and his belief that President Trump has not gotten enough credit for the way he has handled the vaccine and its release.
Appearing on Fox Business with Stuart Varney, Barrasso stated that the COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed ‘Operation Warp Speed’ by the Trump cabinet will be released in the middle of December.
“This news of a vaccine this effective and [released] this quickly really is an amazing Christmas gift and now we just have to get it delivered,” Barrasso stated. “We’ve got to deliver it from the factory door to the frontline workers. And I agree with the Centers for Disease Control – that we need to get it to the doctors, the nurses, those who are actually taking care of patients. But also the essential workers, those who are most vulnerable, the elderly, people who have medical conditions. And I will tell you, it looks like there’s going to be delivery by December 11.”
This sentiment echoes that of the Chief Science Adviser for Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui.
Slaoui recently appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and stated that their plan “is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval.”
That approval will come from the FDA, which is scheduled to review the vaccine on December 10. If all goes according to plan, the vaccine should start getting released the very next day.
“We’re talking about 20 million people being able to be vaccinated this year and then 25 million a month, every month, after that,” Barrasso said. “So this is really a good news story; we need to get it done.”
Barrasso did attribute much of the success of the vaccine’s release to President Trump, throwing some shade at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the process.
“The president deserves incredible credit for this,” Barrasso remarked. “And then you see the Governor of New York who called this ‘bad news,’ because he said it happened ‘two months too soon,’ before another administration might take over. This is the worst you can get. This vaccine has been politicized. President Trump has led the way.”
Barrasso was referring to a statement Cuomo made on Good Morning America on November 9 of this year. Speaking of the vaccine, Cuomo stated that “the bad news is that it’s about two months before Joe Biden takes over and that means this administration is going to be implementing a vaccine plan.”
“The Trump administration is rolling out the vaccination plan and I believe it’s flawed,” he explained. “I believe it learns nothing from the past. They’re basically going to have the private providers do it and that’s going to leave out all sorts of communities that were left out the first time when COVID ravaged them.”
Barrasso, in his appearance on Fox News, disagreed.
“I chaired a conference of all the senators with those who were in charge of Operation Warp Speed and getting it out the door,” Barrasso said. “And they’re going to be distributing it to the states in proportion to the populations of each of those states, with each group that goes out. So every state will get some immediately, relative to their population.”
Barrasso continued, adding that “Then, the question is, ‘How does the state distribute it?’ And every state has been asked to come up with its own plan. But to make sure the states are ready, we’ve already pre-positioned in the states needles, syringes, gloves, alcohol pads, masks; all the things that we need so that the second the vaccine gets to the states, they’ll be able to administer the shots.”
Varney, the host of Fox Business, praised President Trump and the administration’s preparedness for the vaccine before switching topics and asking Barrasso about any sort of economic relief or stimulus package that may once again be offered to those who need it.
“I’m not sure the exact dollar figure,” Barrasso remarked. “I’d like to see this done, but it has to be focused on helping people who are struggling – workers, small businesses, paycheck protection, kids going back to school, getting the vaccine out. It can’t be for some liberal wish-list, which is what Nancy Pelosi has been demanding all the way through. But, you know, even her own party is now abandoning her on these goals. They’ve lost about a dozen seats in the house as a result of her kind of dug in position. We have a bipartisan group now working on getting it done. I hope we get it done by the end of the year.”
The “liberal wish-list” Barrasso spoke of is the $2.2 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus and Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which aimed to give Americans a second stimulus check of up to $1,200, while also extending key financial benefits (such as rent relief, student loan debt forgiveness, etc.). This was stalled by Republican lawmakers who prefer a targeted approach to payouts, offering relief to those whom they believe “really need it.” Pelosi and the House Democrats pushed for a blanket package that would have allocated $400 billion alone to state and local governments. Congress returned to duty on Monday and now has less than two weeks to reach an agreement before dismissing again until the new year.
Economic uncertainty aside, Senator Barrasso believes good things are to abound this Christmas, and he has no issues with the expediency and deliverance of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I would encourage all people – if you can get the vaccine, get it,” he said. “I’m gonna get it when it becomes available to me. I’m not at the front of that line, but I tell you, I think it’s going to be the thing that writes the final chapter against the coronavirus.”