US health and defense officials give update 1 week into COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Senior officials with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed provided an update Monday on the country’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The briefing with Department of Defense and Health and Human Services Department leaders comes exactly one week after the U.S. began administering the first coronavirus vaccines to health care workers.

Monday also marks the kickoff of a nationwide campaign to vaccinate nursing home residents against COVID-19.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and CVS Health Corp are leading the program, in partnership with the federal government. It aims to vaccinate some 7 million people in more than 70,000 long-term care facilities.

The companies already started dosing some residents with Pfizer’s vaccine last week, but their full rollout begins Monday.

About 7.9 million doses of the two shots are being distributed nationwide this week, including on Christmas Day if necessary, according to U.S. Army General Gustave Perna, who oversees vaccine distribution through Operation Warp Speed.

About 50 million people in the United States will have had the first of two shots needed for immunization by the end of January, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

The head of Operation Warp Speed said on Sunday that people who have been infected with the coronavirus — a group that includes President Donald Trump — should receive the vaccine.

White House officials have said that President Donald Trump will get the vaccine as soon as his team determines its best to do so. It remains unclear when that might be.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said last week that Trump was holding off, in part, “to show Americans that our priority are the most vulnerable.”

“The President wants to send a parallel message, which is, you know, our long-term care facility residents and our frontline workers are paramount in importance, and he wants to set an example in that regard,” she said.

President-elect Joe Biden publicly received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine Monday. The vaccination was streamed live television as part of an effort to show that the inoculations are safe.

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