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National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins tells "Axios on HBO" that the Trump administration deserves credit for the "breathtaking" speed of COVID vaccine development.

The big picture: The fact that it "got done in 11 months from when we first knew about this virus is at least five years faster than it's ever been before before," Collins said.

  • "The Operation Warp Speed, for which I give a great deal of credit to [former HHS Secretary Alex Azar], was a effort that many of us were not initially convinced was going to be necessary. And it was thought about as a Manhattan Project."
  • "Those words were used sometimes to describe what needed to happen in order to get all parts of the government together in an unprecedented way to test up to six vaccines in rigorous trials ... so that if any of those trials happen to work, you would already have doses ready to go into arms."

The bottom line: "That effort and the recruitment of Dr. Moncef Slaoui was an incredibly important step forward that the administration deserves credit for, because that did motivate a lot of actions, a lot of coordination."

Go deeper

Feb 21, 2021 - World

America's vaccine rollout has been among the best in the world

Expand chart

America’s much-maligned vaccine rollout is actually going relatively well, at least compared to other wealthy countries.

The big picture: The U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five countries: Israel, the Seychelles, the UAE, the U.K. and Bahrain.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
Feb 21, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Americans wearing masks in 2022 is "possible"

Americans wearing face masks in 2022 is "possible," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Why it matters: Wearing masks will likely be part of our new normal for longer than we think, even as vaccinations ramp up across the U.S. The CDC advises that you should still wear a mask, avoid crowds and wash your hands often after receiving two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.