WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding another COVID-19 vaccine announcement:
“Once again, this morning brought two different sets of headlines on the pandemic we’ve been battling for the last nine months.
“On one hand, rates of infection and hospitalization are rising rapidly nationwide. We all must continue taking smart precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing. But, at the same time, we continue to receive hopeful signs that victory may be on the horizon.
“This morning, the American biotech firm Moderna and our National Institutes of Health announced that early trials suggest the vaccine they are jointly developing may be both safe and more than 94% effective.
“This follows Pfizer’s similar announcement last week. As former Food Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb summed it up this morning, ‘when the full data comes out, we may have two highly effective vaccines against COVID.’
“If these results hold, we are told the first doses of a vaccine could be administered to certain vulnerable people as soon as next month, with wider distribution by next spring.
“This is a remarkable testament to American ingenuity: to bright researchers and brave test participants; to bold commitments from the private sector; and historic support from smart public policy like Operation Warp Speed from the Trump administration and this Senate.
“As Moderna’s CEO said this morning, ‘I want to thank our partners at BARDA and Operation Warp Speed who have been instrumental to accelerating our progress to this point.’
“Operation Warp Speed sent billions in funding to expedite research and development. It provided a streamlined regulatory environment and pre-purchase agreements to reduce risk. It has mobilized the compilation of the basic supplies — things like needles and swabs — that need to travel with a vaccine itself.
“We have every indication that this historic public-private partnership is on track to deliver a scientific miracle and help us defeat this virus in the months ahead.
“Certainly there’s no time to waste. Kentucky just announced our highest-ever weekly count of new positive cases. The numbers are troubling in places all across our country. So for now, our job is to continue doing all we can to stay safe and slow the spread.”