When the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine becomes available, it will go to states based on the total number of adults living in each state, according to National Public Radio, according to Operation Warp Speed officials.
Once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given regulatory approval, the federal government announced that it would ship 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine within 24 hours, according to the Washington Post. The expectation is that the frontline health care workers who are considered a top priority will get the shots immediately.
Five federal agencies are also expected to receive the vaccine – the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Defense and State, the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Administration.
“We wanted to keep it simple,” said Alex Azar, secretary for health and human services (HHS), during a press conference, NPR reported. “We thought it was the fairest and most consistent approach.”
The plan announced this week runs counter to what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), believed to be central to the government’s vaccine distribution plan, originally proposed. The CDC had announced that the vaccine would be allocated to risk groups.
Back in October, HHS officials agreed to Operation Warp Speed that people in high-risk groups such as health professionals, nursing home residents and other frontline workers would receive the first doses. That has changed somewhere on the line. Azar said the way vaccines are being allocated will not change once the advisory committee makes its recommendations.
“Ultimately, this is a decision by US governments,” he said, according to the NPR.
After completing the distribution plan, each state must now determine its top five locations for handling Pfizer vaccines, according to the Post. The vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees, colder than in winter in Antarctica. The vaccine also has a number of handling protocols.
The government expects 40 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna, the company with a second vaccine that is expected to receive emergency approval. The 40 million doses can vaccinate 20 million people as each vaccine requires two doses.
Because the federal government pays to have the vaccine delivered and administered, Americans get their vaccination shots for free. Of course, free is relative when you consider that Congress allocated roughly $ 10 billion to Operation Warp Speed.
Meanwhile, states are asking Congress for $ 8 billion to cover the cost of planning, storing, and training staff to administer the vaccines.