UPDATED 6:57 AM PT – Wednesday, November 25, 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services announced big plans for coronavirus vaccine distribution ahead of Emergency Use Authorization of many candidates.
On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and his team said they expect nearly 6.5 million doses to be dished out to Americans. Health officials have advised early doses should be sent to vulnerable populations and frontline workers before going out to the general public.
“That amount that we allocated to the country was 6.4 million doses of vaccine,,” stated Gen. Gustave Perna, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed. “Then what will happen if there’s more available after the initial push, then it will go out in the following weekly cadences of distribution accordingly…40 million by the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, Regeneron began sending out 30,000 doses of its treatment. The biotech company expects to distribute another 50,000 by next week and 300,000 by early January. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail is the same treatment President Trump took when he was diagnosed with coronavirus in October.
Other companies, including Pfizer and Moderna, are expecting to get their vaccines approved soon to join Regeneron in fighting the virus.
“We’ve said that we expect by the end of December to have enough vaccine to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable just by way of sizing and scaling,” said Secretary Azar. “That by the end of January, we think we’ll have enough to vaccinate our senior citizens as well as our health care workers and first responders.”
Meanwhile, the federal government is giving state governors “final say” on who gets early access to vaccines. State officials are expected to send the HHS an estimate of how many doses they need by Friday.