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Initial doses of a coronavirus vaccine could be sent out as early as mid-December, Vice President Mike Pence told governors during a call on Monday.
The distribution process could start during the week of Dec. 14, according to audio of a White House Coronavirus Task Force call obtained by CBS News. The call focused on the timeline of vaccine approval and distribution.
“With this morning’s news that Moderna is joining Pfizer in submitting an emergency use authorization [to the FDA], we continue to be on pace,” Pence said.
The FDA is scheduled to make a decision about Pfizer’s emergency use authorization after an advisory panel meets on Dec. 10 to review the company’s application. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn didn’t commit to the Dec. 14 date, CBS News reported.
“We do all the number crunching ourselves,” Hahn said. “We look line by line by line on all the data, on all the patients and manufacturing. We do statistical analyses and we come to our own conclusions to support a decision of either thumbs-up or thumbs-down.”
According to a meeting agenda, Pfizer vaccine deliveries should start on Dec. 15, followed by the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 22, CBS News reported.
Between Dec. 13-19, Pfizer is slated to deliver 6.4 million doses, which is enough to immunize about 3 million people with two shots. An “undetermined number” are reserved for backup doses, the news outlet reported.
During the next week, Pfizer and Moderna are scheduled to produce enough doses to vaccinate an additional 10 million people. By the end of the month, about 30 million people should receive doses.
As vaccines begin to roll out, Pence said “we have a ways to go” in reassuring the public about immunization. He urged governors to use their “bully pulpit” to educate their states and “develop public confidence” in the vaccines.
During the call, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, supported the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Although the vaccine development and approval process was accelerated this year, he said, it “does not at all compromise safety, nor does it compromise scientific integrity.”
“Any misrepresentation that the vaccines had government interference or company interference is patently untrue,” he said.
CBS News, “Pence tells governors coronavirus vaccine distribution could begin in two weeks.”