WATCH: Stephen Miller Claims If Trump Were Still President ‘We Would Already Have Modified Vaccines’
In a Friday appearance on Hannity, former White House senior adviser Stephen Miller claimed that if former President Donald Trump were still president, “we would already have modified vaccines” to deal with new Covid-19 variants.
Miller’s comments came during a segment about the Omicron (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 variant that was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa on Wednesday, and designated as a “variant of concern” (VOC) by WHO earlier on Friday, mere hours before he decided to make this claim. “The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021,” wrote WHO in their statement.
Guest host Tammy Bruce said that the current vaccine boosters were “for the alpha version,” and “weren’t adjusted,” like flu shots were for the annual strains of the influenza virus.
“So it seems like we’re rushing when we don’t even know what this new variant is going to do,” said Bruce. “But really, a lot of this, we can’t deny, has been so political. Do you see politics in this? Is this another dynamic about fear?”
Miller agreed that he saw “politics everywhere,” and said that Covid-19 was “becoming endemic — it’s going to continue to mutate, it’s going to continue to evolve.”
“If President Trump was still in office, by the way,” he claimed, “we would already have modified vaccines that deal with the new variants.”
Miller credited Trump for bringing vaccines “in record times,” and “just as importantly, President Trump emphasized therapeutics and treatments — that’s completely off the table now,” before declaring that President Joe Biden’s administration was “failing.”
The insinuations by both Bruce and Miller that nothing is being done to combat the new Omicron variant are patently false, even during these very early days of America’s response.
Pfizer and their vaccine production partner BioNTech said that if the Omicron variant proved resistant to their current vaccine, they “expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval.” Moderna cited a similar timeline of 60-90 days to advance new vaccine booster shots to clinical testing.
Contrary to Bruce’s assertion that the vaccines hadn’t been adjusted to new variants, Moderna has already developed Beta- and Delta-specific boosters.
Saturday afternoon, former Biden White House Senior Advisor for Covid Response Andy Slavitt posted a Twitter thread about the Omicron variant, based on his review of the most recent news reports and “brief conversations” he had had with scientists working on the issue. Slavitt had a similar assessment that mRNA vaccines were designed for “rapid development” but that still meant “weeks to create, months to produce.”
The mRNA platform allows for rapid development. Unless there are surprises, this means weeks to create, months to produce. 13/
— Andy Slavitt 🇺🇸💉 (@ASlavitt) November 27, 2021
If Miller was referring to the Omicron variant — and it is unclear from his comments — then his suggestion that Trump could have somehow done something, anything that could have led to a vaccine targeted to a newly discovered SARS-CoV-2 variant within hours of its designation as a VOC and only 17 days after its discovery is, of course, absolutely bonkers and lacking any logical foundation in reality.
In addition to the announcements from Pfizer and Moderna, a spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the third vaccine approved by the FDA, told Fox Business in an emailed statement on Friday that they were “closely monitoring newly emerging COVID-19 virus strains with variations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and are already testing the effectiveness of our vaccine against the new and rapidly spreading variant first detected in southern Africa.”
One last fact check: Miller’s claim that Trump had “emphasized therapeutics and treatments” but they were “completely off the table now” under the Biden administration, is, again, flat out wrong.
Molnupiravir, an orally administered pill developed by Merck, was administered to adult patients who were considered at higher risk for severe disease and were experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms. Results showed that patients who received the drug within five days of the onset of symptoms had roughly half the rate of hospitalization and death as those who received a placebo. The highly promising results led them to seek emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA.
Another experimental antiviral pill developed by Pfizer showed even more astonishing results, cutting the risk of hospitalization or death by nearly 90 percent when administered to high risk adult patients.
Watch the video above, via Fox News.
Editor’s note: A spokesman for Miller reached out after the publication of this story to argue that Miller “was not claiming that President Trump would have a vaccine available for the Omicron variant after only a week of its emergence.” We have updated the story to reflect that explanation.
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