THOMASVILLE — Inoculations for a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready as early as next month, U.S. Sen. David Perdue said.
Perdue, making a campaign stop in Thomasville on Tuesday, said Vice President Mike Pence has informed him that the vaccines could be ready soon, thanks to the efforts of the White House’s Operation Warp Speed.
“We desperately need that vaccine,” Sen. Perdue said.
Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus pandemic tracker puts the number of cases in the U.S. at nearly 12.9 million since the outbreak began. In the last seven days, prior to November 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 24,000 new cases in Georgia alone.
Under the auspices of Operation Warp Speed, several companies are on the verge of producing a vaccine and the effort also has led to the development of therapeutics and other treatments. Two of the vaccine research efforts have reported being at least 90% effective in their trials.
The goal, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, is to produce 300 million doses, with the first doses to be ready by January. The HHS also says the Trump administration is committed to providing free or low-cost vaccines to people as fast as possible.
Sen. Perdue said President Trump deserves credit for creating Operation Warp Speed and for bringing potential vaccines to market in months instead of years.
“What President Trump did is he shortened a three-year cycle down to nine months,” Sen. Perdue said. “When you get unnecessary regulations out of the way, this is what we can do in America.”
Sen. Perdue also backed President Trump’s effort across the board and alluded to Winston Churchill, the British prime minister who helped shepherd the war effort against the Axis but whose party was voted out between the surrender of Germany and the surrender of Japan.
“Winston Churchill held the world together. He was an irascible personality, but history gives him a lot of credit,” Sen. Perdue said. “This is an incredible administration. We’re now energy independent for the first time in our history. We helped six and half million people pull themselves out of poverty in the last four years, even though the Democrats haven’t been able to do that in 65 years. We passed a banking bill that saved our community banks. And we passed a tax bill that gave African Americans the biggest pay increase in history. In the African American community, we have the highest middle class income and the lowest unemployment ever measured.”
Perdue also said he supports President Trump’s push for a recount of votes in Georgia. A first recount brought the president within less than 13,000 votes of former vice president Joe Biden, a spread of only .26%.
A statewide audit of paper ballots affirmed Biden’s victory in Georgia, according to the secretary of state’s office, though the initial recount showed some votes weren’t counted in several counties. Because the margin is less than .5%, President Trump can request a recount after the certification.
“There’s a path and I am standing shoulder to shoulder with him,” Perdue said. “There are valid concerns in Georgia and Pennsylvania and others. We’re hoping we get to the bottom of that quickly. We have teams focused on that. My focus is 100% on January 5, making sure we know what’s at stake.”
Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.