Those plans will be shared with other states to help them plan vaccine delivery. Discussions with the states this week provided some of the first details of the federal government’s plans at a time when information shared by the government was limited and often confusing. The United States is planning the largest immunization campaign ever made, a grand proposal that requires exceptional coordination, planning and communication.
US officials this week said Operation Warp Speed, the administration̵7;s effort to accelerate the development of countermeasures against coronavirus, is on track to deliver tens of millions of doses of vaccine in January.
In the discussion of plans, one of the hottest topics concerns freezers. At least one vaccine candidate is expected to require storage at very cold temperatures, around minus 70 degrees Celsius. A top CDC official told state vaccination officials Wednesday. that states may not purchase special freezers. But if a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration requires such a cryopreservation, states should prepare the site for mass vaccination clinics as doctor offices cannot afford capacity to store and manage those injections.
On Friday, the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services announced that the McKesson Group will be the central distributor of covid-19 vaccine and related supplies. The CDC is implementing an existing contracting option with McKesson to assist with vaccine distribution, a HHS statement said. McKesson also distributed the H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic. McKesson will work under the guidance of the CDC to ship covid-19 vaccine to regulatory facilities, the statement said.
Although President Trump has repeatedly said that the military will provide vaccines, the Department of Defense “is not really going to distribute or supply the vaccines itself,” said Paul Mango, deputy director of policy at HHS, told reporters at Thursday’s briefings. The Department of Defense will handle the logistics of the production process, including purchasing raw materials, setting up factories and training workers.
Mango said in an email Thursday: “With a few exceptions, our commercial distribution partners will be responsible for handling all vaccines. In some cases, commercial distributors may provide vaccines to private organizations, such as mobile vaccination units, to nursing homes, he said.
In the coming months, state and federal officials will need to figure out how to transport and store vaccines, how to identify priority groups to get the first dose, and how to track who may need the dose. second, if needed. .
North Dakota officials said they had been working for weeks on the plans. In addition to their strategy of vaccinating the general population, they are working with the CDC to find ways to reach Indians in the US, according to a statement from Molly Howell, director of the North Dakota immunization program. Native Americans and other communities of color have been disproportionately affected by covid-19, with higher hospitalization and mortality rates than white Americans.
But these communities also tend to have lower immunization rates than whites, and experts say better strategies are needed to increase the uptake of covid-19 vaccine.
In an August 4 letter to state vaccination and preparation officials, the CDC directed states to make some assumptions about their plans.
Vaccine delivery will be centrally managed but can be handled through many distributors. Distribution can be extended to include additional healthcare organizations, such as pharmacies, hospitals, public health clinics, and physician offices.
Countries should assume that vaccines will be distributed directly to suppliers. Covid-19 vaccine providers must register with their jurisdiction’s immunization program in order to receive the dose. Needles and syringes and a limited amount of masks and face shields will be distributed by the federal government at no cost to service providers “proportionally,” the letter to the states said.
The number of vaccines allocated to each jurisdiction will be based on a number of factors, including population size, the letter states.
Recommendations on which group should receive the vaccine are likely to vary, depending on the characteristics of the vaccine, the source and the epidemiology of the disease.
During a meeting with state immunization officials and other experts on Wednesday, Nancy Messonnier, head of the CDC’s National Center for Vaccination and Respiratory Diseases, stressed the need for urgency and flexibility in completing plans by 1 October, the earliest when a vaccine is likely to be available.
“We need states to have draft plans even when draft plans aren’t perfect,” she told the group. The CDC and other agencies will provide public officials with additional technical expertise, she said. “But honestly, we’re running out of time. If the vaccine is to be available on October 1, maybe so, we need to plan ahead before that, ”says Messonnier, admitting that” everything about the event is unprecedented. “
Other US officials have said such a scenario in October is highly unlikely.
“That was amazing,” National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins said during Thursday’s HHS briefing. The only way that could happen, he said, was if one of the phase 3 trials in progress could get volunteers “at an absolute record rate” and the vaccine was deemed safe and safe by the FDA. effective even before all volunteers sign up.
“It’s some superimposed possibility. I don’t expect to see, on the basis of what we know scientifically, that we will be at a point where the FDA will have a chance to make such a ruling until October 1. , ”Said Collins. “Maybe November or December will be my best bet.”