US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he’d gladly get the first Covid-19 vaccine after authorization, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to Americans that he has “supreme confidence” in the integrity of the vaccine approval process and the quality of the Covid-19 vaccines.
“I wouldn’t ask the American people to do something that I wouldn’t be able to do myself,” Azar said at an Operation Warp Speed briefing on Wednesday.
The Operation Warp Speed team said they were so focused on getting the vaccine out to Americans that they hadn’t thought about who would get the actual first shot.
“We’ve been so focused on speed, getting it out, and deferring to the governors,” Azar said.
“We probably do need to ah, make a plan for, who’s going to get it first visibly,” said Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed.
“We’re all going to be available, if it’s appropriate at the time to receive the shot,” Perna said.
More on the vaccine: Perna said that 2.9 million doses of vaccine will be distributed in the first shipment from Pfizer if the emergency use authorization is granted by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Perna said that there were initially 6.4 million doses the federal government expected to receive from Pfizer in the first shipment. He separated 500,000 doses for reserve supply, then separated that number in half because the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to be effective, bringing the total in the first shipment to 2.9 million doses.