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...

DHA leadership recognizes, advances 60th MDG mission

Article
5/14/2021
Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place visits Travis Air Force Base

DHA leadership visit 60th Medical Group at Travis AFB.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | MHS GENESIS

Teamwork, adaptability, service – MTFs shine during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
5/14/2021
People at screening area

MHS readiness was put to the test at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2020.

Recommended Content:

May Toolkit | May Military and Health Observances | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Join Us!! Sixth Live COVID-19 Town Hall

Article
5/12/2021
Image describing today's Town Hall with Dr. Paul Scott and COL Clinton K. Murray, MD.  They are with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and will discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Advancement and Trials.

Join us for today's Town Hall with Dr. Paul Scott and COL Clinton K. Murray, MD. They are with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and will discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Advancement and Trials.

Recommended Content:

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

MHS Town Hall, May 12, 2021

Video
5/12/2021
MHS and Military OneSource COVID-19 Townhall, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Wednesday 12 May

Tune in for another MHS and Military OneSource Town Hall with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Recommended Content:

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

Is It Allergies or COVID-19?

Infographic
5/11/2021
Infographic that describes the difference between symptoms of allergies and those related to COVID-19

This Infographic provides a chart that outlines how to tell the difference between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms

Recommended Content:

Symptoms of COVID-19 | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

Navy nurse steps into Jacksonville community for COVID-19 vaccinations

Article
5/7/2021
Military health personnel wearing face mask discussing the COVID-19 vaccine program

Navy Cmdr. Glenn “Pete” Bradford is aiding the underserved Jacksonville community in COVID-19 vaccination mission

Recommended Content:

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

Line Leader Presentation (PDF)

Publication
5/7/2021

This document is identical to the PowerPoint presentation for line leader reference and use.

Recommended Content:

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

Reasons to Choose a COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet

Publication
5/7/2021

Leaders and public affairs officers can share this information across channels to continue the vaccine confidence conversation.

Recommended Content:

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

Line Leader Presentation PPT

Publication
5/7/2021

Leaders across the Department can leverage this briefing deck to discuss COVID-19 vaccines with their troops. Don't forget to reference speaker notes and to personalize the title slide!

Recommended Content:

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

Presentation Companion

Publication
5/7/2021

Leaders and public affairs officers may reference this document. It can be shared with commands to support briefings, or distributed independently to share facts about COVID-19 vaccines.

Recommended Content:

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

Nurse and Tech Week: Air Force airmen are battle-tested and ready

Article
5/6/2021
12 COVID-19 patients aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

For the past year, Air Force nurses and medical technicians have found themselves on the front lines in the battle against the COVID-19 disease.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | National Nurses Week | Technology | Nurses Week | May Toolkit | Coronavirus

DHA, HA leaders discuss MHS Transformation at AHA panel

Article
5/6/2021
Military personnel talking at a podium

Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place and Dr. Terry Adirim discussed MHS Transformation, MHS GENESIS, and highlighted the DHA’s response to COVID-19 in a virtual roundtable hosted April 12 by the American Hospital Association.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS Transformation | Genesis of MHS GENESIS | Coronavirus

EACH celebrates National Nurses Week with a reflection on the pandemic

Article
5/6/2021
Military health personnel inputting information into a computer

Evans Army Community Hospital celebrates National Nurses Week 2021.

Recommended Content:

National Nurses Week | Nurses Week | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 33

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.