| DAVID VERGUN, DOD NEWS | Jan. 13, 2021
Operation Warp Speed co-leaders Dr. Moncef Slaoui and GEN Gus Perna visit a UPS Freezer Farm in Louisville, Kentucky. The visit was among several industry visits solidifying distribution solutions and the mission’s whole-of-America approach. (Photo by Lisa Simunaci - Ryan Davis/UPS)
Lt. Col. Ronald Cole, Public Health Command-Pacific’s Human Health Services director and a public health nurse, receives the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, on Dec. 23, 2020. The inoculation was part of the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration plan that is a phased, standardized and coordinated strategy for prioritizing, distributing, and administering COVID-19 vaccines to protect DoD personnel, maintain readiness, and support the national COVID-19 response. (Photo by Amber Kurka)
Capt. Amber Morton-Chism, assigned to U.S. Army Medical Department Activity ̶ Japan, briefs medical personnel before they start administering COVID-19 vaccine shots at the Community Recreation Center, Camp Zama, Japan, Jan. 6. (Photo by (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown))
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Edward Champoux, the 673d Health Care Operations Squadron Allergy and Immunization Clinic chief and Pacific Air Forces regional allergist, administers the first of a two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine to U.S. Air Force Capt. Orlando Cabigas, a clinical nurse with the 673d Health Care Operations Squadron Emergency Services Flight, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Dec. 30, 2020. Upon receiving the initial shipment of the vaccine, JBER began inoculating personnel following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s prioritization guidelines. The vaccine is part of Operation Warp Speed, a national initiative to accelerate the development, production and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Samuel Colvin)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shaneshia Lindsey, 51st Medical Support Squadron medical materiel technician, unpacks COVID-19 vaccines at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 28, 2020. Patients will be administered two doses, separated by 28 days, in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and manufacturer medical guidelines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier) (Photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)
WASHINGTON -- There's been significant progress in getting the COVID-19 vaccines out to the states, said Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed.
Thus far, 25 million doses of the Moderna and the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech vaccines have been sent to 16,000 locations throughout the United States, he said.
Perna; Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to OWS; and, Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, briefed the news media today on OWS.
Spotlight: Operation Warp Speed
"The cadence of allocations, the cadence of orders, the cadence of picking and packing, the cadence of what's being shipped, has really become a remarkable feat for all of us, and the whole of America to be proud of," Perna said. "The result will be a safe and effective vaccine delivered to the American people."
OWS, in collaboration with pharmacies Walgreens and CVS have made significant progress in getting vaccines out to many of the 70,000 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, he said.
In less than a month, 11,000 of those facilities have received the first dose of vaccines, he said, and 12,000 more are scheduled this week, with similar numbers for the weeks following.
Perna acknowledged the hard work of Moderna, Pfizer, distributor McKesson Corp., United Parcel Service, Inc. and FedEx Corp., who he said are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deliver the vaccine in a timely manner.
Azar said that "we've seen substantial rises in American's confidence in these vaccines and interest in taking them."
Over the last several days, OWS has averaged around 700,000 reported vaccinations each day and OWS is on track to reach 1 million per day within about 10 days or less, he said. A total of 9 million first vaccinations have already been given.
By the end of next week, 95% of long-term care facilities will have had first dose vaccines administered, Azar added.
Azar said he's telling states to allow people 65 and older to now receive the vaccine, as well as those who are younger and who have a comorbidity with medical documentation.
"We're expanding the groups getting vaccinated because state restrictions on eligibility have obstructed speed and accessibility of administration," he explained.
"There was never a reason states needed to complete vaccinating all healthcare providers before opening vaccinations to older Americans and other vulnerable populations," he added.