US to distribute 2.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately upon FDA authorization

The federal government plans to begin distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as the end of this week should a candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech receive clearance for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Operation Warp Speed’s chief operating officer Gen. Gustave Perna told reporters that the government will begin distributing 2.9 million doses of the vaccine if the vaccine is cleared for emergency use, according to CNBC

Each person getting the vaccine must take two doses of it. Perna said 2.9 million doses will be set aside for those who received their initial vaccine to receive the required second dosage in a few weeks.

Federal officials are also putting together a stockpile of half a million doses “so that we make sure that in case we need to react to some situation we had some reserves,” Perna said, according to CNBC.

His remarks come as the Defense Department announced its plan for the vaccine’s distribution to DoD members in a news release Wednesday, stating that the initial wave of vaccinations for personnel in the armed services would occur at select military bases around the country.

In total, 64 federal jurisdictions or agencies will be given access to supplies of the vaccine.

The general public could see access to the vaccine “by the middle of the month of January or early February, when we’ve had five, six weeks of rolling, high-cadence manufacturing, and that we see that things are rolling perfectly,” added Operation Warp Speed’s Dr. Moncef Slaoui at the news conference Wednesday, according to CNBC.

Officials in the United Kingdom began administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week to the general public, prioritizing the country’s elderly residents, at 50 hospitals around the country.

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