Government agencies released a comprehensive distribution plan Wednesday that would make a coronavirus vaccine free of charge to all Americans, should one become available.
Federal agencies and the Department of Defense presented the plan in a report to Congress coupled with a “playbook” for states and municipalities, the Associated Press reported. The plan outlined distribution plans that would begin late this year and eventually reach every American electing to receive the vaccine.
The plan is “much larger in scope and complexity than seasonal influenza or other previous outbreak-related vaccination responses,” the playbook says. The campaign also comes as public confidence in a vaccine has declined throughout the summer, polls show. (RELATED: Pharmaceutical Companies Sign Joint Pledge Promising A Safe Coronavirus Vaccine)
The plan indicates that Americans will need two doses taken three to four weeks apart, and that the two doses must come from the same pharmaceutical company, implying that there may be several different vaccines available.
It also says that vaccinating against COVID-19 will take months at least, and that health care and essential workers and vulnerable populations will be prioritized. Only in the second and third phases would vaccination expand to the majority of Americans, according to the plan.
The vaccine will also be free of charge and will instead be paid for by taxpayer funds allocated by Congress and the Trump administration, the plan says. Also, the plan gives localities a month to devise their own supplemental distribution strategies to ensure that their residents are able to be vaccinated if they so choose.
The distribution plan was created under the authority of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s effort to develop and distribute an effective vaccine against the coronavirus as soon as possible. Several vaccine candidates are in Phase III trials, and some have recorded encouraging results. (RELATED: Here’s Everything We Know About The Coronavirus Vaccine’s Distribution So Far)
In addition to declining public confidence in a vaccine, however, recent reports have alleged that the Trump administration has attempted to rush a vaccine in order to help President Donald Trump’s reelection chances, and a recent Politico investigation said the administration allegedly interfered with the Center for Disease Control’s reports on the pandemic in an attempt to make them more positive.
Despite the reports, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the administration remains committed to ensuring that a vaccine is available as soon as possible.
“We are working closely with our state and local health partners to ensure that Americans can receive the vaccine as soon as possible and vaccinate with confidence,” he said Wednesday. “Americans should know that the vaccine development process is being driven completely by science and the data.”
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