The Atlantic  |  February 22, 2021

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed didn’t worry about the cost of the vaccines or whether the vaccine companies could be held liable for side effects. The Europeans focused on trying to get a low price for the vaccines, and on making sure the vaccine companies could be sued if the vaccines caused problems. The U.S. threw money at the problem, flooding vaccine makers with billions of dollars in subsidies to increase the speed of vaccine testing and manufacturing. Unlike the EU, the U.S. and the U.K. bought millions of doses of various vaccine candidates last summer, without knowing which ones would be effective. “The U.S. and the U.K. locked in their supplies before they knew the vaccine was going to work,” Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global-health law at Georgetown University, told me. “The EU was more risk-averse.”

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