CME INDIA Presentation by Rishav Manaswi, Founder (Dynamic Cognition), MBA (France).

For Vaccine programs to be successful, the consumers must consume the product. This is the critical law of the market.

What is it?

America’s national COVID-19 vaccination program. Operation Warp Speed is the name of the Government backed program to accelerate the development of Coronavirus Vaccines and successfully deliver 300 million doses by 1st January 2021.

Operation Warp Speed - US Dept. of Defense

When was it announced?

On 15th May 2020 by then President Donald Trump.

What does the name mean?

Inspired by space sci-fi series Star Trek’s Warp Drive. Warp drive is a measure of the speed of a spaceship. A spaceship with warp drive can travel faster than the speed of light. The idea was to create a sense of rapid progress.

What were the objectives?

  • Use resources of public and private sector to accelerate development and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Administer 300 million doses by 1st Jan 2021.

Key bodies behind the project:

  • U.S Department of Defense
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Initial: $9 Billion – $10 Billion

So far: $18 Billion

Initiative Type:

Public-private collaboration. Initially classified as “Stretch Goal” – Not easy to achieve, given the deadlines.

Vaccine Development Partnerships:

OrganizationMoney Allocated ($ Billions)
Sanofi with GSK$2b
Pfizer with BioNTech$1.95b
Johnson & Johnson$1.5b

Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Development Process:

OWS - Vaccine Development Process

Operation Warp Speed Milestones:

OWS - Milestones

Did America vaccinate 300 million citizens on 1st Jan 2021?

No. Far from it. In fact, as of 4th Feb. 2021, about 35 million Americans have been vaccinated. The current rate of vaccination in U.S is about 1.3 million doses per day.

CDC - vaccination data

Has the Operation Warp Speed Failed?

While it may be trailing in the administering of the doses, it is essential to note that the program has led to the development of vaccines in a short span of time.

Operation Warp Speed is notable for bringing together numerous bodies – both public and private – together in fighting the pandemic. It is remarkable because bureaucracy and lack of alignment within departments can easily derail projects in an organization. To maintain such degree of coordination at this scale is a feat in itself.

What’s next?

With the vaccination rate to 1.3 million doses per day, it will take about 11 months to cover 75% of the American population with a two-dose vaccine. It is worth pointing out that of the more than 57 million vaccines delivered across the states, only 35 million have been utilized. While the Operation Warp Speed has succeeded in developing and distributing the vaccine, it cannot achieve its target unless the governors across all states push the population to get vaccinated.

This highlights a rather critical law of the market – the market for the product must exist. If the consumers don’t “consume” the product or the service, the research and development doesn’t matter. The marketing doesn’t matter. The talented team behind the project doesn’t matter.

Case in point – Dean Kamen is a prolific inventor with over 1000 patents to his name.

In 1973 he invented the world’s first wearable infusion pump (Insulin pump). AutoSyringe Inc. began manufacturing and marketing the pumps in 1976.

World's First Portable Insulin Pump

He is also the creator of Segway – the battery operated two-wheeled self-balancing personal transporter.

Dean Kamen and Segway

Segway launched in 2002 with the goal of selling over 50,000 units every year. Five years later it had barely managed to sell 23,000 units. The company was later sold to a China based rival organization in 2015. In 2020, it ceased production.

The product was good but there wasn’t a market willing to spend $5000 on a bicycle/bike alternative.

For the vaccination programs the same rules apply. It is essential to drive the population to get vaccinated. Otherwise, like the Segway, the vaccines will end up in case-studies across business schools.

CME INDIA Tail Piece

Global Vaccine roll-out:

Global Vaccine Rollout


  1. US Dept. of Defense:
  2. Developing Safe and Effective Covid Vaccines — Operation Warp Speed’s Strategy and Approach
  3. Inside Operation Warp Speed’s $18 Billion Sprint for a Vaccine.
  4. CDC.
  5. More Than 119 Million Shots Given: Covid-19 Tracker.
  6. Insulin Pumps.

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