By the end of December, there will be enough vaccines against COVID-19 to protect 20 million of the most vulnerable Americans, with a similar number available each month thereafter, federal officials said Wednesday.
The team’s announcement provided new details and timelines for a dissemination program designed to protect the country from the deadly pandemic.
The vaccines will be distributed in the United States within 24 hours of “the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use permit,” said senior officials from Operation Warp Speed, the agency’s multi-agency effort to accelerate vaccine development.
While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must also take action to recommend the use of vaccines, efforts are under way to establish a simultaneous review by the FDA and CDC to prevent delays.
Manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna announced this week that their vaccines prevent 95% of cases. Company officials say they plan to apply to the USDA for an emergency use permit “within days.”
Video: Chief of the Warp Speed operation to launch a vaccine
Here is what federal officials said about the distribution of vaccines:
It will be free
“We paid for the vaccines. We have worked to ensure that administrative costs are covered by private insurers and the federal government through Medicare, Medicaid and our COVID-19 program to cover the uninsured. No American will face a COVID-19 vaccine. “
- Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Hazard
Each country will receive supplies based on population
“The distribution of the vaccine will be based on the fair and equitable availability of the vaccine in proportion to the population – in other words, the population of the country against the available vaccine. And every week that passes, we are able to create a stricter view of the actual numbers and distributions that will be available to each country. “
- Army General Gustave F. Perna, Chief Operations Officer, Operation Warp Speed
Distribution will begin within one day of the FDA’s extension, followed by weekly deliveries
“We will start distributing the vaccine within 24 hours of the emergency authorization … The distribution will go to all 64 jurisdictions (state, local and local public health agencies). We will then begin a weekly delivery of the vaccine … to ensure that we quickly expand availability across the country at once.
“We will implement the plans established by the courts once they understand the priority and where they want it to go.”
McKesson Corp. and Pfizer are responsible for delivering the vaccine to where it should go
“The federal government will use the contract we have with McKesson, one of the world’s leading distributors of pharmaceuticals and medical products, as well as a direct agreement with Pfizer to deliver the product from production sites to places where jurisdictions decide it should go. ”
More than half of the national pharmacies and “pharmacy chains”, such as grocery stores, will have access
“Last week, we reached national agreements that allow the vaccine to be administered by pharmacy chains and networks of independent pharmacies, which cover more than 60% of pharmacies across the country. Most Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy. “
Services for seniors say they are ready for shipments
“Already 99% of qualified nurses across the country are registered, and 100% of hospitals in 20 countries are registered.”
We practice how to distribute it
“We do a lot of exercises for desktop computers, now we have expanded them into real rehearsals on how to move the product, from production sites to distribution centers, to actual administrative sites.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) published a game book back in September, and jurisdictions are reviewing that book … to make sure all the details are covered. “
Everything will pass
“All of America needs to be vaccinated within 24 hours. It is extremely important to have a fair and even distribution of the vaccine throughout the country, so that there are no ‘having’ and no ‘having’.
But the federal government needs to see three things from the states
First, we need to have jurisdictions that create a good solid registration (doctor, pharmacist and facility) … Second, we need to get countries to go and sign “data usage agreements” м to see who has received their dose, where he took the dose, what vaccine they received … The third thing is for the jurisdictions to work on their actual rehearsals in carrying out the plan … on a tactical level. “
The introduction of the vaccine will continue during the handover to the president
“All those involved in planning at the CDC and the Operation Warp Speed team are career employees, so they are not affected by a change in leadership. Working with countries is deeply embedded in the CDC’s work processes. So in the case of a transition, there is really only complete continuity.
We have made it very clear that when the General Services Administration decides (to coordinate the transfer of power), we will ensure a full, joint professional transition and planning. “
Some vaccines require ultra-cold cooling. This is complicated, but not a break in the deal
“We know where the ultra-cold storage refrigerator is in the country. We asked the courts months ago for this information, so they went and tracked it down. They were also provided with resources on how to buy more refrigerators if they wanted to increase distribution opportunities.
Many countries do not require additional cooling. They have enough or can supplement it with dry ice. My message is: don’t be afraid of the cooling requirement. The opportunity exists. “
There are still no data on the long-term safety of vaccines. But if there were big problems, we would already see them. And once we are immunized, the health authorities will monitor us
“We have seen that more than 90% of side effects occur within 40 days of completing the immunization schedule … We will understand the results for the vast majority of potential side effects.”
- Dr. Monceff Slavey, Chief Scientific Adviser on Operation Warp Speed
Who gets which vaccine, if both are available?
“Take the available vaccine, it would be my personal recommendation … At this stage we are happy that the two vaccines have almost the same results.”
More vaccines are in the process
“We have two more vaccines being recruited for phase 3, with about 11,000 subjects employed in one and about 8,000 subjects in the other … The two vaccines will give us data on their effectiveness in the coming weeks. Maybe in early January, for one of them. And for the other – it may be in the next few weeks or maybe a little later. “