Private-sector solutions again prove to be the best in fighting COVID-19


December 14, 2020 11:53AM

Today, COVID-19 vaccinations are being distributed across America. Developing a vaccine and taking it to market at such a rapid pace is a herculean achievement. It comes less than one year after the first confirmed virus case in the U.S., and four times faster than any vaccine in history.

Many are skeptical, and indeed time will tell whether those concerns are warranted. But anything worth doing takes risk. And an important question to ask is whether the traditional way of approving vaccines is outdated and unnecessarily cumbersome. The FDA is notorious for sitting on drugs for more political than scientific reasons. As we saw with Right to Try efforts that started in the states and culminated with federal legislation in 2017, the FDA’s approach can often be outmoded. Providing life-saving medicine to terminally ill patients once required a waiver that took some six months to complete. It took the patient’s physician alone more than 40 hours of paperwork. Now, it takes roughly 40 minutes. 

It took a great deal of luck and human ingenuity to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to its current point. It also took some willingness of the government to slash unnecessary red tape to make it happen. Now, distribution will take its fair share of initiative due to the temperature at which the two leading vaccines must be stored and shipped. Enter yet another private-sector solution here in Tennessee: logistics giant FedEx is helping lead the distribution efforts here. 

There is a lot to put behind us as we close out 2020. One of which is a once-in-a-century virus that has ravaged our planet. But the rapidity at which our brightest minds have responded to solve this crisis with the fastest vaccine development in history should be a testament to our resilience and much brighter days ahead.