Warp Pace official urges persistence with Covid vaccine: “We won’t flip anybody away”
Operation Warp Speed’s Director of Supply Production and Distribution provided an estimated timeline for the availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States.
In an interview in CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” on Wednesday evening, Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski (retired) assured that anyone who wants a vaccine can get one by June.
“This is a scenario in which we will not turn anyone away,” he said. “We ask the American people to understand, because resources will be scarce at first.”
Moncef Slaoui, scientific advisor to the White House’s Warp Speed program, told the Washington Post in a livestream interview Tuesday that there could be enough doses to keep the rest of the world’s nearly 8 billion people by early to mid-2022 to immunize.
The US Food and Drug Administration has convened a Vaccine Advisory Council meeting on December 10th to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for approval of their emergency candidate in America. A week later, the FDA will consider a vaccine from Moderna in the United States. Both candidates are two doses.
The vaccine from US-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech will launch in the UK next week after UK regulators cleared it for emergency use on Wednesday morning. The elderly in nursing homes and medical workers will come first in the UK
Similarly, on Tuesday, a group of medical experts advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to put these populations first in America should a vaccine or vaccines be approved.
Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Wednesday the US government is on track to ship enough doses of vaccine to 20 million people by the end of the year.
With the increasing spread of vaccine doses, Ostrowski emphasized the importance of a communication campaign in the sales strategy.
“Some of this is in the works, but certainly public announcements,” he said. “We’ll also have websites that show which states and where in the states the vaccines are available and which prioritization groups are in line to make it all available to the American people.”
CNBC host Shepard Smith asked Ostrowski whether or not identification was required for vaccination. For example, would someone have to prove they had diabetes in order to receive the vaccine if one or more are limited in availability for the next month?
“No, definitely not, we won’t go to this level,” said Ostrowski. “The bottom line is we want to make sure we get vaccines in arms at the state level to prioritize. So of course when you get a vaccine we want you to be prioritized.”
Ostrowski said it was up to the governors to decide the priority in their states. However, he did not go on to elaborate on specific methods to ensure those in need of the vaccine most would receive it.
“We want you to report if you have any of these comorbidities, if you are older, or if you work in the health care sector. But we are not going to stop people from signing up for a vaccine,” he said. “It would be irresponsible to do that.”
Warp Speed works with six pharmaceutical companies to develop, manufacture, and distribute their Covid-19 vaccines.