Eisenhower Executive Office Building
8:05 A.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good morning. And thank you all for being here. I want to thank my wonderful wife, our Second Lady Karen Pence; the Surgeon General; Dr. Tony Fauci; and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force who are joining us here today. I especially want to thank the fine medical team at Walter Reed Hospital that administered our vaccine today. I didn’t feel a thing. Well done. And we appreciate your service to the country.
You know, as the Christmas holiday approaches, this is always a season of hope. We gather here today, at the end of a historic week, to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way. And Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take the safe and effective coronavirus vaccine that we have secured and produced for the American people. It’s a truly inspiring day.
As the people of this country witnessed this past week, under Operation Warp Speed, the first coronavirus vaccine is literally being administered in states across the country to millions of Americans. And make no mistake about it: It’s a medical miracle.
The average vaccine, I’m told by our experts, usually takes between 8 and 12 years to develop and then manufacture and distribute. But we’re on track, here in the United States, to administer millions of doses to the American people in less than one year. It is a miracle indeed.
And I also believe that history will record that this week was the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic. But with cases rising across the country, with hospitalizations rising across the country, we have a ways to go. And I want to assure the American people that we’re going to continue to make sure that our healthcare providers have all the support and resources they need to meet this moment. But vigilance and the vaccine is our way through. And building confidence in the vaccine is what brings us here this morning.
Ever since I was asked by President Trump to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, I have been inspired by the diligence and energy of our researchers in this country. Early on, the President brought some of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world together in the Cabinet Room and said that we needed medicines, we needed therapeutics, and we needed vaccines, and we needed them in record time. I watched the historic pace with which the dedicated men and women at the FDA worked. But, today, Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to assure the American people that while we cut red tape, we cut no corners.
And thanks to Operation Warp Speed, thanks to incredible research companies, thanks to the great work at the National Institute of Health, and the great and careful work of the FDA, and the leadership of our President in Operation Warp Speed, the American people can be confident we have one and perhaps, within hours, two safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for you and for your family.
And now we’re in the process of distributing millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine all across the country. Working closely with our nation’s governors, we’ve already seen the vaccine delivered to healthcare workers and seniors across the nation.
This week, 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been allocated. And next week, 2 million more doses will be distributed across America. And as you all know, yesterday, the FDA advisory panel recommended approval of the Moderna vaccine. And when it is approved, we expect later today, we’ll be in a position to ship 5.9 million doses of vaccines all across the country next week.
In fact, under Operation Warp Speed, we are poised to have vaccine for 20 million Americans before the end of December. It is truly a medical miracle and an inspiration to people across this country.
It is a — it’s a tribute as well to the dedication of all of those working at the federal level and the state level who have implemented this project. From early on, President Trump gave the White House Coronavirus Task Force one mission, and that was to save lives. And in the midst of one of the most challenging years in the life of this nation, I truly do believe that, despite the heartbreak and hardship that we have endured as a nation, that we’ve done just that.
Working with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force these last 10 months, we scaled testing. Now we’re doing nearly 2 million tests a day and have performed more than 200 million coronavirus tests across America. And the FDA just approved the first over-the-counter coronavirus test for at-home testing for the American people.
Working with the great team at FEMA and with the Department of Defense, we identified and distributed literally billions of medical supplies to our doctors and nurses and hospitals, and we’ll continue to ensure that all of our caregivers in this country have the resources and the support they need to continue to meet this moment.
We saw to the development of therapeutics, remdesivir, monoclonal antibodies, the good use of steroids, and other methods that have literally saved lives across the country. And as we gather here today, and as we celebrate this week, we secured a safe and effective vaccine that’s being distributed all across America.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take this moment, at the end of this challenging year, simply to say thanks to the men and women who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. You will hear from several of them in just a few moments. But let me give credit where credit is due.
I want to thank Dr. Tony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. I want to thank Dr. Robert Redfield and all the great men and women at the CDC. I want to thank Secretary Alex Azar of HHS and Seema Verma at the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. And I also want to thank the great team at FEMA that has stood up the greatest national mobilization since World War Two, and Pete Gaynor, and General Sanford, and all of those that have worked to make sure that the American people and our healthcare workers have the supplies they need has made an extraordinary difference in the life of the nation. I’m also grateful for the steady hand and leadership of Dr. Ben Carson, who has been with us every step of the way.
I know I speak for every American when I say — and I speak for our President when I say: Thank you for your service in this year and in the days to come.
The truth is, the American people deserve to know that we’ve never been more prepared to combat the coronavirus than we are today. And even while we see cases rising and hospitalizations rising and heartbreaking losses, we’ll continue to marshal the resources that we have secured as a nation, including a safe and effective vaccine to meet this moment.
But that being said, it’s important that every American remember that all of us have a role to play. The way through this challenging time is vigilance and a vaccine. The day will come when we put the coronavirus in the past, but it will be a combination of all the efforts that I just described: a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people but also the ongoing vigilance of every American.
So as we — as we reach this extraordinary and historic moment in the life of our nation, let me urge every American to continue to do your part: Put the health of your family, your neighbors, and your community first; practice good hygiene; wash your hands; practice social distancing, or wear a mask whenever it’s indicated, or whenever you’re unable to practice distance; and listen to your local authorities.
As President Trump often says, we are rounding the corner. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the light of American innovation and creativity. It is the light of lifesaving medicines and a safe and effective vaccine.
After a year of heartbreak and hardship, the American people can be encouraged. And Karen and I hope this step today will be a source of confidence and of comfort to the American people that thanks to all the men and women who have operated under Operation Warp Speed, that we have a safe and effective vaccine and that these days of hardship and heartbreak will, in a day not too far in the distance, will be put in the past.
So with gratitude for the American ingenuity of our research companies, with gratitude for the incredible healthcare workers who have met this moment and continue to meet this moment in the life of the nation, with gratitude for all the officials at the federal and state level, and gratitude to our President for his vision with Operation Warp Speed, I’m confident that we will get through this, we will get through this together, and we will heal our land. So thank you all very much. (Applause.)
8:15 A.M. EST