The federal government is planning to send out 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to U.S. communities within 24 hours of regulatory clearance, the Washington Post reported late Tuesday.
Officials anticipate that shots will be quickly administered to frontline health care workers first.
Gen. Gustave Perna who oversees logistics for Operation Warp Speed told reporters that “a steady drumbeat” of additional doses will be delivered as manufacturing capacity picks up.
Allocations will be made based on each state’s population Perna told the Post.
As manufacturing capacity expands, next in line for the vaccine –which will be free — would include an estimated 87 million other essential workers, including first responders, teachers and grocery workers, the Post said. More than 100 million adults with high-risk medical conditions and about 53 million adults over the age of 65 would also be among that group.
Enough doses of a shot to vaccinate 20 million people will likely be available by the end of the year. It probably will be April before the general public begins to get vaccinated, the Post noted.
According to the publication, the first batch of 6.4 million doses also includes vaccines that would go to five federal agencies — the Bureau of Prisons, the Defense and State departments, Indian Health Service and the Veterans Health Administration.
As vaccine distribution appears imminent, many states have identified large hospital systems to be the first places to receive vaccines because they have the appropriate freezers for the very low temperatures required to store the vaccine (minus-94 Fahrenheit) and can efficiently vaccinate many people.
Pfizer has been conducting test runs to prepare for delivery and proper handling of the shots and according to the Post, Perna said that the “lessons learned” during these rehearsals are being shared with other officials. He told the Post that he anticipated “to see growing confidence in people that are using it.”