Pfizer submitted its vaccine to the US FDA today. Moderna will submit its vaccine later this month. The companies said they expect to produce 50 million doses in 2020 and up to 1.3bn doses by the end of 2021.
“We have about 40 million doses of vaccine, give or take, exactly when the EUA comes out,” he said.
Mr Perna said the vaccines would be distributed equitably across the US.
“We’re going to execute fair and equitable distribution based on the population of the jurisdictions — jurisdictions identified as the 50 states, eight territories and six metropolitan cities,” he said.
He said that once the vaccine is in the hands of the governors, they will have the responsibility of distributing the vaccine.
“We’re going to get it down to the states. The states are going to tell us exactly where they want it to be,” the general said. “We will ensure that the vaccine gets there in a timely manner. We’ll make an initial push — once EUA is approved — of everything we have on the shelf, and then every week we’re going to maintain a cadence of delivery of vaccine so the states have access and prior planning knowledge to ensure it gets to the right places and the right times.”
Mr Perna said after the initial flush of vaccine doses, the military would continue to deliver the doses in weekly waves, which will provide jurisdictions with the stability needed to develop distribution strategies.
The 40 million doses the military will distribute is enough to vaccinate approximately 20 million Americans.
The government has also brought private pharmacy chains – like CVS and Walgreens – into the logistics chain.
“I’ve sat down with their CEOS and their teams — very elaborate, very comprehensive, operational plans on how they can partner with states to deliver vaccines from inner cities to rural America,” he said, “and I’m incredibly confident that they can do that.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the government’s “ultimate goal” is to “make getting a COVID vaccine as convenient as getting a flu shot.”