Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Hepburn: DOD role in Operation Warp Speed was ‘transformative’

Medical technician getting a syringe ready to give a vaccine Crystal Tyler, pharmacy technician, prepares an injection for an Operation Warp Speed patient volunteer at Brooke Army Medical Center Fort Sam Houston, Texas, November 16, 2020. BAMC is one of five Defense Health Agency military medical treatment facilities participating in the Phase III trial to evaluate the vaccine under development by AstraZeneca as part of a national initiative to accelerate the development, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. (Photo by Jason Edwards, Brooke Army Medical Center.)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Vaccine Trials | Coronavirus

The director of the Department of Defense’s Operation Warp Speed told The Society of Federal Health Professionals that he is 'incredibly proud’ of the work his team has done with the Department of Health and Human Services in finding a vaccine for COVID-19. Dr. Matthew Hepburn’s praise for DOD came during a speech to the AMSUS virtual annual meeting Dec. 8.

The DOD’s role in Operations Warp Speed (OWS) was “transformative,” said Hepburn, OWS development lead, pointing to operational planning, logistics and supply chains, which “is in our DNA” at DOD. “It comes very naturally because that is what we do…and that has made all the difference,” he told the audience of more than 1,500 online attendees.

For example, he said DOD’s expertise in obtaining contracts quickly resulted in OWS getting “a really good deal in record time that was mutually beneficial” to the six vaccine manufacturers the joint operation decided to pursue for an approved vaccine for COVID-19. Those manufacturers are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Novavax, and Sanofi.

“The Department of Defense’s unique contracting experience … and other transactions have allowed us to come from where we think are the right contacts to having long-term contracts,” Hepburn said.

Pfizer and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer’s application will be reviewed by an FDA advisory committee of vaccine experts Dec. 10, and Moderna’s application will be reviewed a week later. The FDA usually, but not always, accepts its advisory panels’ recommendations.

The FDA announced on Dec. 8 that its review of the Pfizer vaccine found it to be safe and efficacious, meeting the requirements for emergency use authorization. The vaccine showed a strong protective effect after the first of two doses, according to the FDA.

The OWS’ chief operating officer, Army Gen. Gustave Perna, “has been very clear that we will have trucks rolling within 24 hours of approval of the first vaccine,” Hepburn said.

Once the vaccine is first available to frontline health care workers and elderly care facilities, “we need you to tell our communities that this is just one layer of a multi-level strategy” to protect against COVID-19, he stated.

He urged the health care community “to convey a message that these vaccines are safe and efficacious, and that vaccination is important” as a counterpoint to widespread misinformation in the general public about vaccines and the need for vaccination against the disease.

Clinical trials for the candidate vaccines are ongoing and represent the diversity of the general population, Hepburn said, and were done “in anticipation of trying to increase confidence” among the public. For example, at least 25% of clinical trial participants are over the age of 65, a population not normally used for clinical trials but one at greater risk from COVID-19, he noted.

The number of doses needed for immunizations is “really a moving target, which is not necessarily a bad thing,” Hepburn said. “The consistency and cadence of manufacturing improves over time, and more doses are available than we thought would be available last week.”

OWS’ project team asks for “more doses on a daily basis,” he noted.

Armed services research efforts prior to the pandemic will allow for future innovation and speed of vaccine and therapeutics development, Hepburn said.

“If we hadn’t made those investments 10 years ago, there is no way we could have achieved the speed” of going from research and development, to candidates, to clinical trials, to approval and distribution, he said.

He noted that the DOD’s “clinical research enterprise led us to be involved in the enrollment right now in the AstraZeneca clinical trials.”

He called the department’s research enterprise “an incredibly powerful tool to confront 21st century threats,” and that “this is the new standard for rapid product development, and will apply not only to pandemics but also to develop product for combat health in half the time. Imagine how fast we could go in force protection” using the new paradigm, he said.

During a question and answer session, Hepburn emphasized that the AMSUS audience “needs to remind people at the DOD and in the community at large how well DOD can work” when confronted by new viral or other national security and health care threats.

“One of the most important lessons learned is the value of military leadership” in overcoming obstacles at a rapid clip, he said, noting the DOD “didn’t take over a public health initiative, but collaborated on a project that involved not only what we’re doing for the American people but also globally.”

You also may be interested in...

It’s Not Over Yet: Some COVID Safety Precautions Remain Necessary

Article
7/22/2021
a crowd of people

Returning to society when fully vaccinated is great but keep that mask handy

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

How COVID-19 fast-tracked innovation in the Military Health System

Article
7/20/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 test

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of healthcare delivery, the Military Health System responded with new and innovative ways to fight the disease and deliver safe, quality care to patients.

Recommended Content:

Health Innovation Month | Innovation | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Got Your 6

Video
7/16/2021
Got your 6

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil. Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID vaccinations rise -- but so do concerns of the Delta variant

Article
7/1/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask preparing a COVID-19 vaccine

MHS expected to reach 70% COVID-10 vaccination rate in July.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Video
6/29/2021
COVID-19 Delta war infographic

Like our enemies in the past, the coronavirus has adapted and we're now dealing with the most transmissible variant yet, Delta. The fight can be won with vaccination. If you're not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus, go get your shot today. Otherwise you're at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic stating that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. The variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

The Delta Variant: Are You Protected?

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic with the title, “Are you Protected?” and the TRICARE logo on the bottom right. States that the Delta variant of the virus is spreading and that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against the Delta Variant. If you've received your first dose, don't forget to get your second dose.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: Fact Check

Infographic
6/28/2021
A Fact Check graphic. Features a quote in the center of the graphic and states that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. This variant spreads easily, with increased rates of sickness and hospitalization.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: Stop the Spread

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic describing the Delta variant. Includes three bullet points describing the variant and a link to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine and includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right.

The Delta variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low. Visit www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine to learn more.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New COVID-19 Delta Variant: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Article
6/28/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Delta variant spreading rapidly; it’s time to get vaccinated

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

Got Your 6: June 26, 2021

Video
6/25/2021
Got Your 6 Infographic

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Video
6/25/2021
COVID-19 infographic

Are you a service member age 18 to 30? Are you unvaccinated? You may be entitled to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. To avoid these options, get vaccinated today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant

COVID-19: Get Your Second Shot

Infographic
6/22/2021
Get Your Second Shot! You're not fully vaccinated - or protected - until you receive your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

You're not fully vaccinated - or protected - until two weeks after getting your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Got Your 6 - June 16, 2021

Video
6/16/2021

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines - Main Infographic

Infographic
6/9/2021
An infographic describing the COVID-19 Vaccines, How they Work and Safety Monitoring Processes

This infographic pulls all three COVID-19 topics together in one graphic: Getting to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines, How they Work and Safety Monitoring

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 36

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.