12 October 2020

NOTE FROM NORM: A Vaccine Is Ready When It Is Ready

The furious debate that erupts every time the President declares that he wants a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible strikes me as dangerous to our nation’s public health.

As someone who continues his fight every day against the Beast that is cancer in my body I am grateful for the access I have had to the medicine and treatments that I have needed to literally keep me alive.

While many of the drugs themselves may no longer be seen as experimental any number of treatment regiments that have been created to fight my cancer certainly have been radical or newly emergent.

Denying me, or any other American, access to drugs that can potentially save their lives when they are facing the end of their lives is cruel, lacks compassion and fails virtually any test of leadership.

The same, in my mind, is true for the need to bring vaccines to market to protect Americans, and the world, from COVID-19.

The President does, on more than one occasion, get in over his skies with his optimistic comments about when things will happen.

If one is to judge him on his comments, rather than the results, then one fails to appreciate the progress that has been made during his first term of office.

From a booming economy, to a stronger America across the globe, to a Middle East Peace process that is actually starting to work, to cutting bureaucratic red tape that chokes the life out of innovation and productivity in America, the President’s record will ultimately speak for itself.

The same is true of his approach to the nation’s response to the global pandemic of COVID-19.

I won’t convert anybody in this post who has concluded the President is simply never going to be someone they will support.  I don’t intend to.

It is my intention, however, to remind all of us – those who support him, and those who do not and those who have yet to make up their mind – that we should all share a desire for a COVID-19 vaccine to get into our communities sooner rather than later.

And, if safe, proven vaccines can be delivered to American communities, targeting our most vulnerable populations, before the November Elections we should make sure that happens.

The drug companies that are leading the battle, the federal government that is funding the Operation Warp Speed Initiative, should all commit to simply getting a vaccine to Americans, and the world, as soon as the medical science concludes it is safe to do so.

Not when the President wants it.

And not waiting to have it until after the Election because Democrats claim having it before then is nothing more than politics.

I have to admit I was dismayed when I saw drug companies issuing a public statement saying they would not be pressured by anybody to bring a vaccine to market.

The fact that they published such a statement underscores that they already are reacting to political pressure.

It was a mistake for them do what they did.

It’s a mistake for Democrats to claim that any vaccine that appears in our communities before Election Day will be determined to be unsafe.

Let’s be honest about all of this.

There is no way in the world that a vaccine company is going to rush a COVID-19 product to market that is not going to be deemed safe.  No amount of pressure from Donald Trump is going to have them push unsafe products out the door that will potentially cause more harm than good.

The eyes of the world are on them.

These are professionals – experts – scientists – researchers – who have spent their entire careers doing the right thing to create medicines to help people.

Furthermore, the effort by Democrats to demonize the President for calling for the release of a vaccine as soon as possible only threatens to undermine the confidence of the American people who need to be committed to using the vaccine.

There are no winners if a vaccine is released before the election and Democrats claim it is nothing but a dirty trick intended to help Donald Trump win re-election.

The American people are not stupid.

But, far too many of them are scared, confused and anxious about a global pandemic that has wreaked havoc on their jobs, their economy, their friends, family and their communities.

To undermine confidence in a vaccine that could very well save the lives of millions of Americans for political gain is ghastly and irresponsible.

I am alive and continuing my fight against my Beast because medical science took calculated risks to create medicines and treatments to allow me to have another day on Earth.

All of us have an obligation to stand together in this fight against COVID-19.

We should wear masks when masks are required.  We should socially distance because it is easy to do so if we simply make the effort.  Washing our hands.  Not touching our nose, our eyes and our mouth may be more difficult than we expected but we can make a conscious effort to try.

And, when a vaccine is safe and ready and available we should take it.

Whether it is before Election Day or after it.