Paul Mango, deputy head of policy for the Department of Health and Human Services policy, told reporters at a telephone conference that the two drugstore chains are ideal for sending mobile units to vaccinate the elderly and vulnerable on site.
“This is a completely voluntary project in every nursing home area. This is an optional project,” Mango said.
It will be up to the pharmacy chains to figure out how to deliver vaccines, including cold storage requirements and personal protective equipment. Officials said retailers should decide how to charge medical, medical assistance or fees from private insurers to administer the vaccine, which should be provided free of charge to the public.
Mango said the Operation Warp Speed team had no idea how many nursing homes would be selected for use by retailers. “We are not imposing our solution on anyone,” he said.
According to Dr. J. Butler, Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, one-third of corona virus deaths in the United States are among those living in long-term care facilities.
“We hope this program will be a quick and easy way to provide vaccinations to long-term care facility residents,” Butler told reporters.
The first people to receive the vaccine are expected to be staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
“We fully expect both Pfizer and Moderna to have both the safety and efficacy of their vaccines very soon. We are very encouraged as their clinical trials are going unusually well,” Mango said.
“One reason we do this is that we expect to put the needles in people’s hands within 24 to 48 hours of the emergency utilization authorization time,” Mango said. “This is a pre-requisite for us to believe in rapid deployment.”
The CDC has asked states to submit plans for vaccine distribution by Friday. Maj. Gen. Christopher Sharpston, director of supply and distribution for Operation Warp Speed, said the plan would help provide centralized administration and “ensure that the American people have comprehensive vaccine coverage.”
“Our goal is to expand vaccine coverage,” Sharpston said in a statement.
Earlier on Friday, President Trump said seniors would be the first to receive any vaccine.
“Seniors will be at the forefront of the lineup for vaccination, and we will end this epidemic soon,” Trump said. Myers, Florida.