Sept. 16 (UPI) — Distribution of any new COVID-19 vaccine will begin within 24 hours of its approval by federal regulators, a top Trump administration official said Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, deputy chief of supply, production and distribution for the Operation Warp Speed vaccine development program, told reporters the goal is to move supplies of the vaccine to administration sites immediately after the Food and Drug Administration gives final approval.
The ambitious timeline is part of a detailed strategy the Health and Human Services Department sent Congress Wednesday.
The strategy calls for a plan to promote “vaccine confidence and uptake” and distribute 6.6 million “ancillary supply kits” containing needles, syringes and alcohol pads — enough to support 660 million doses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued interim state guidelines in a 56-page “playbook” that outlines details for a vaccine rollout.
The playbook says limited doses could be available by early November if a vaccine is approved soon, but expects supplies to increase substantially next year.
The CDC plan details a “phased approach” in which the first phase gives front-line health workers the first doses, along with persons at risk of severe COVID-19 complications and Americans over the age of 65.
A second, larger phase would vaccinate the rest of the U.S. population that want it.
States must submit plans to administer and distribute a vaccine by Oct. 16.