Trump's vaccine 'architect' calls vaccine hesitancy a 'frustrating irony'

Alex Azar.
(Image credit: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Health and Human Services Secretary under former President Donald Trump and "architect" of Operation Warp Speed Alex Azar reassured vaccine-hesitant Americans of the shot's efficacy and safety, while lamenting inoculation reluctance as a "frustrating irony."

"The reluctance and even refusal of many Americans — including many of my fellow conservatives and Republicans — to get a COVID-19 vaccine is a frustrating irony for those of us who worked to expedite these vaccines," wrote Azar. "While the vaccines have had doubts cast upon them by politicians throughout their production and rollout, ... They work incredibly well, and more than 160 million fully vaccinated Americans are proof."

Azar continued by debunking claims that Operation Warp Speed made good on its name by cutting corners in the vaccine development process. The team had no choice but to work as fast as possible, and still "made sure that there was no compromise on safety by conducting some of the largest and most extensive vaccine clinical trials ever," he said. Testing in large populations returned results "faster than ever before," and the vaccines "produced remarkable protection against COVID-19 and were extremely safe."

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Furthermore, Azar explained the only "real" difference between full FDA approval and the current emergency-use authorization is that "full approval requires steps like analyzing longer-term safety and efficacy data, and inspecting manufacturing facilities." Not to mention "a vast majority of adverse events with the vaccines occur in the first 42 days or so."

He concluded by urging his fellow conservatives to "do our part," and calling on the Biden administration to continue to "depoliticize the issue." "It would be tragic to see more lives needlessly lost when we are so close to beating this virus once and for all."

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