- A former White House advisor said new vaccines would already be in place to curb Omicron’s spread if Trump were still in office.
- Omicron might spread easily and be resistant to vaccines because of its many mutations.
- Vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer have already begun testing their vaccines against Omicron.
Former White House advisor Stephen Miller claimed that there would already be updated COVID-19 vaccines to deal with the Omicron variant if Donald Trump were still president today.
“If President Trump was still in office, by the way, we’d already have modified vaccines to deal with the new variant,” Miller said, speaking to Sean Hannity on Friday night.
Scientists first detected the new Omicron variant in South Africa. It has since spread to several other countries, including Israel and Belgium, prompting a spate of travel restrictions across Europe, Asia, and North America, Insider’s Aria Bendix reported. A health official said on Saturday that two cases of the variant have been detected in the UK.
The variant itself has multiple mutations that might make it easier for it to evade antibodies that developed in the body after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The mutations might also cause the variant to spread easily — even among vaccinated people. Because of the numerous mutations, the World Health Organization has labeled Omicron a “variant of concern,” a distinction given to the most threatening coronavirus variants. Delta, the variant that surged all throughout the summer in the US, was the last one to receive the label.
It’s not clear yet whether existing COVID-19 vaccines will protect against the variant. But vaccine manufacturers in the US already considering their options.
Pfizer, for example, said it will be able to manufacture and distribute an updated version of its COVID-19 vaccine within 100 days if Omicron is found to be resistant to its current vaccine. The company expects to know within two weeks whether the variant is resistant to its current vaccine, a company spokesperson told Reuters.
In his interview, Miller did not specify how Trump would have sped up the timelines proposed by Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers like Moderna.
The vaccines against COVID-19 were developed under the Trump administration. It took 11 months to get them out to the public after the first confirmed coronavirus case in January 2020.
It’s also unclear what effect Trump specifically would have on the updated vaccine progress that President Joe Biden wouldn’t have. Both Pfizer and Moderna indicated they would know whether the Omicron variant is resistant to their current vaccines within the next couple weeks. Johnson & Johnson is also conducting testing.