All Americans who want to get a Covid-19 will be able to do so by April, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday.
“Initially, in December and January, we're going to be having very targeted vaccinations, also helped in large part by some of our largest chains, like Walgreens and CVS,” Azar told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview.
The US does not have an authorized coronavirus vaccine yet. But one vaccine maker, Pfizer, reported promising early data on Monday and officials widely expect the company to be able to apply for US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization before the end of this month.
Azar said HHS believes there will be enough vaccine for “all of our most vulnerable citizens” to get vaccinated in December, followed by “all of our senior citizens, as well as our emergency first responders and our health care workers” in January.
“By the end of March to early April, we think across all of the vaccines that we have invested in, we have enough for all Americans who wish to get vaccinated,” he said.
HHS announced Thursday that it is partnering with large chain pharmacies and networks to increase access to an expected Covid-19 vaccine.
“It’s really during those stages that this broad community pharmacy program will be available,” Azar added.
Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at -94 Fahrenheit (-70 Celsius), far below the capacity of standard freezers. That could pose significant storage and distribution challenges.
Azar said other vaccine candidates are coming soon that he hopes "will have a lesser cold chain, just simple freezer requirements, for instance, that will enable that type of vaccination program."
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