The US federal government’s goal is to make coronavirus vaccines like getting a flu shot, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday.
“We distribute over 90 million vaccines a year that are (included in) CDC’s Vaccines for Children program,” Azar said in an interview with Axios.
Azar said the government’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan includes “leveraging what works using the familiar names, the Walgreens, CVS, the hospitals, the community health centers that we have.”
“We want to make this eventually so it’s as much like getting your flu vaccine as possible,” he said.
“In terms of vaccine hesitancy, we’ve seen increasing levels of vaccine confidence even just in the last month,” he added.
Azar predicted vaccine hesitancy will decrease and confidence will increase over time.
“First, the data is so exceptional on these vaccines — 94% plus efficacy,” he said. “Second, we now have an independent country with an independent regulator on the Pfizer vaccine saying it’s safe and effective for use by their people.”
The United Kingdom gave emergency authorization to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine last week and will begin rolling out the shots Tuesday.
“The American people, that should bring reassurance to them. A highly separate process has also validated this and I’ve made clear there are five independent checks in the system that we have built to ensure there is no politicization of the vaccine program here,” Azar said.
Azar said he expects a Covid-19 vaccine to be widely available across the US by the second quarter of 2021.
“My expectation is that next year we return to normalcy in our lives, thanks to the incredible work of Operation Warp Speed and these vaccines, as well as the therapeutics,” he said.