Atlanta, Georgia - Remarks by Vice President Pence in a Roundtable Discussion on Vaccine Distribution:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Dr. Redfield and Dr. Walke and Dr. Messonnier and then all the members of the CDC team. It is - it’s my honor to be here with you, first and foremost, on behalf of President Donald Trump and all the members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, just to say thank you. Thank you to the men and women of CDC, who have literally poured their lives, over the last 10 months, into saving lives across America.
I served as governor of Indiana and had reason to work with CDC in an incident in the state of Indiana, but the work that we’ve done together over the last 10 months has left me deeply inspired — not just as your Vice President, but as an American — with the men and women that serve on this campus, on CDC campuses across America, and literally the CDC personnel that are embedded all across this country, giving counsel to state policymakers and governors as we’ve found our way through this extraordinary coronavirus pandemic and its impact.
So I want to say thank you to each and every one of you. I’m also very honored to be here with three leaders who have been stalwart partners in our national response. Senator David Perdue and Senator Kelly Loeffler, I want to thank you. Whether it be the CARES Act; whether it be helping us to secure billions of dollars to reinvent testing, to provide PPE, the establishment of the air bridge, or just your consistent, steady support for the lives of the people of Georgia first, I want to thank you, and I thank you for being here for this update.
I’m also very grateful to Congressman Doug Collins and all the members of the House of Representatives who’ve, again, stood with us and put the health of the American people first. And it’s an honor to have you join us for this — for this update from the people here at CDC.
We are — we’re in a challenging time in the course of this pandemic, and all of us have a role to play: wash our hands, social distance, wear a mask when it’s indicated.
But we’re also in a season of hope. This time of year is always filled with hope through faith traditions and in the hearts of the American people, and especially our children. But to be as we are, maybe, Bob, just a week and a half away from what will be the likely approval of the first coronavirus vaccine for the American people is inspiring the people of this country, and we would not be here but for the tireless efforts of everyone involved in our national response, and especially for all the men and women of the CDC.
So I look forward to an update. Thank you for those strong recommendations from the ACIP that you and the CDC have endorsed. We’re going to put a priority on our seniors and staff in our long-term healthcare facilities. And we’re also going to pri- — be a priority on healthcare workers, so that we can continue not only to put their health first, but also make sure that — that we have the staff in our hospitals and our clinics to render care to Americans that continue to be impacted by this pandemic.
But through Operation Warp Speed, we’ll be working with governors around the country to implement those priorities and to distribute those vaccines quickly. But I also want to say how grateful we are for CDC’s ongoing counsel to the American people on mitigation efforts on what every American can do. And even the recent adjustment in the amount of quarantine time — taking it from the expectation of 10 to 14 days, to 7 days — I know it was a great encouragement to Americans.
But all along the way, CDC has been playing its invaluable role in advising not only our administration, but administrations in every state, every territory in the nation.
And so, on behalf of our President and our administration, on behalf, I know, of all those stakeholders and the American people, just — Dr. Redfield, Dr. Walke, Dr. Messonnier, the whole team here at CDC looking on — just thank you for your deeply compassionate and dedicated service to the American people. Because of all of you, help is on the way. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And I’m more confident than ever that the day will come and come soon when we put this coronavirus in the past and return our nation to the freedom and the health and the lifestyle that we’ve all enjoyed across this country.
So, Dr. Redfield, thank you very much for your kind words. And I’ll turn the program back over to you.
(Roundtable discussion commences.)
(Roundtable discussion concludes.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Dr. Redfield. And to the whole team here at CDC, including those that are looking on, just thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for your professionalism.
I couldn’t be more inspired with what I’ve seen from early on, whether it be when we were reinventing testing or when we were giving guidance to essential workers to be able to stay in the workplace to keep all of America’s essential businesses and services rolling, to open companies back up that were seeing outbreaks; the guidance that you gave through those 45 days and the guidance you continue to give Americans.
And now to see the way CDC is continuing to play a shepherding role over Operation Warp Speed to make sure that we have a safe and effective vaccine, and that we deliver it to the American people as quickly as possible, is tremendously inspiring. So, Dr. Butler, thank you. Dr. Messonnier, great to see you again. Dr. Walke, I know our incident commander, thank you for all the long hours that you’ve put in.
And I want to thank Senator Loeffler and Senator Perdue — again, $3 trillion in support for American families and American businesses and American healthcare providers. And to Congressman Collins as well, you all have been extraordinary partners on behalf of the American people, through this.
But I’ll just end by saying Dr. Redfield and I have become very good friends through this process, and he is a man of integrity, and I just couldn’t be more grateful that Dr. Robert Redfield was leading CDC at such a time as this. And it gives me great confidence that help is on the way. We all have a role to play. We’ll continue to play it. We’ll continue to all of us do our part.
But from Dr. Redfield on down, the American people owe a debt — owe a debt of gratitude and honor to the men and women of the CDC, here and around the country.
So thank you and God bless you all.