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U.S. government releases COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:05, September 17, 2020

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) released two documents Wednesday outlining detailed strategy of the U.S. government to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses to the American people.

The documents, developed by HHS in coordination with DoD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provide a strategic distribution overview along with an interim playbook for state, tribal, territorial, and local public health programs and their partners on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response to COVID-19, said a release of HHS.

The overview lays out four tasks for the COVID-19 vaccine program of the United States, including engaging with state, tribal, territorial, and local partners, other stakeholders, and the public to communicate public health information around the vaccine; distributing vaccines immediately upon granting of Emergency Use Authorization and Biologics License Application; ensuring safe administration of the vaccine and availability of administration supplies; monitoring necessary data from the vaccination program through an information technology system capable of supporting and tracking distribution, administration, and other necessary data.

"As part of Operation Warp Speed, we have been laying the groundwork for months to distribute and administer a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it meets FDA's gold standard," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

"This in-depth, round-the-clock planning work with our state and local partners and trusted community organizations, especially through CDC, will ensure that Americans can receive a safe and effective vaccine in record time," Azar said.

The CDC executed an existing contract option with McKesson Corporation in August to support vaccine distribution.

Vaccinations would start gradually among some segments of the population -- such as health workers, other essential workers, and the more vulnerable -- before eventually ramping up for distribution to all who want it, according to a Fox News report.

A CBS News poll earlier this month showed most U.S. voters were skeptical about getting a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available, just 21 percent saying they would get a vaccine as soon as possible if one becomes available at no cost, down from 32 percent in late July.

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