Op-Ed: The Profit Motive Produced COVID-19 Vaccines

This article originally appeared on The National Review on February 3, 2021.


I received my first COVID-19 vaccination just over a week ago. The nice young woman who gave me the shot went through a litany of potential side effects — a sore arm, an allergic reaction, possible flu symptoms. I politely told her I wanted the shot. I may have said “the damn shot,” but my memory fails me. While it will take a second shot on February 19, and then a two-week wait for full immunity, I immediately felt grateful to be an American.


Just last March, experts thought Dr. Fauci’s timeline of “at least” 12-18 months for vaccine development was, at best, ambitious. Paul Offit, the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine in the late 1990s, thought it was “ridiculously optimistic.” Judging by the history of vaccine development (five to ten years for most vaccines), it was hard to disagree.

Thanks to capitalism and the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, it took less than 12 months for the CDC to give emergency-use authorization for two vaccines. The first was developed by Pfizer Inc., an American pharmaceutical corporation, in conjunction BioNTech, a German biotechnology company. The second was developed by Moderna Inc., an American biotechnology company.


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