US President Donald Trump said that deliveries of the coronavirus vaccine are set to begin by next week, noting that healthcare workers and seniors will be among the first to receive the jab.
“We are rounding the curve. The vaccines are being delivered – literally it will start next week and the week after, and it will hit the frontline workers and seniors and doctors, nurses… we’re going very quickly,” Trump said on Thursday, during a Thanksgiving address to US troops stationed overseas.
Calling the short development time a “miracle,” the president said two pharma firms had already announced good results for their inoculations – likely referring to Pfizer and Moderna – and that three other companies would also have vaccines ready soon.
“This normally would have taken four or five years, just getting it through the FDA,” he added.
Trump has repeatedly noted that the military would take some part in doling out the vaccine, but has left its exact role a mystery in public comments. While Americans are unlikely to receive injections out of the back of a humvee, the Defense Department has closely coordinated with other government agencies in the push for the jab, dubbed “Operation Warp Speed.” Part of that work has meant helping pharmaceutical companies establish “pop-up sites” to conduct vaccine trials, for example, providing logistics support and even double-wide trailers for the tests.
Though state governors have the option of using National Guard units to help move doses of the vaccine, distribution itself will largely be left to manufacturers, which work through networks of commercial shippers. The military will, however, monitor the distribution process through an “operations center,” with the main spokesman for Operation Warp Speed, Paul Mango, telling reporters “They will know where every vaccine dose is.”
“If a vaccine dose is at risk of expiring, they will guide the movement of that to someplace else,” he said.
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