While coronavirus vaccines have only been on the market for a few months now, the science behind them has been years in the making.
– We end today with a tribute to all the people who paved the path to Americans becoming vaccinated. When doctors Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman got their COVID-19 vaccines last December, they received a standing ovation. They were at the end of a global vaccine bucket brigade that they had helped start. Their life’s work with mRNA was at the center of the cure in those syringes going into their arms. It had helped doctors like BioNTech’s Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, who joined the vaccine push with Pfizer scientist, Kathrin Jansen.
KATHRIN JANSEN: We could call it a miracle, but a miracle always has a sense of it’s just happened. It didn’t just happen.
– Next in the brigade were the volunteers who tested the new vaccine. Jennifer Haler was the very first to participate in the Moderna trial.
JENNIFER HALLER: The value that I’m going to add to, hopefully, for everybody will certainly outweigh any risks that could happen.
– The vials spun through their factory chutes, quickened by Operation Warp Speed.
– D-day was the beginning of the end, and that’s where we are today.
– Airlines and shipping companies took it from there.
Do you feel like you were delivering hope this morning?
– Absolutely. I know it’s going to make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many.
– Pilots hand it to truck drivers.
– After many years at UPS, this has been my most important load that I’ve hauled.
– The supply was spread over 60,000 vaccination sites, including the one at the New York Department of Health where it went into my arm. The visit was an efficient ballet of injection, where nurses and volunteers ministered to people from all walks of life, who were polite, orderly, and grateful. This is not an exhaustive list of all those who lent a hand in turning an idea into a cure, but the winding chain of effort illustrates the magnitude of the toil of thousands, most of them out of sight, which has led to over 146 million Americans being vaccinated.
Hearts lightened, summer plans opened, hugs finally deployed. We are grateful beneficiaries. Our gratitude is tempered though by the stark sorrow of the pandemic that is still shaking our world. The links in the chain of vaccination have given those of us who received it a chance at the future. As a recipient, thank you. I hope that all of that work will inspire all of us to be worthy of it.