August 14, 2020 / Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor
Senior officials working on Operation Warp Speed held a briefing on Thursday where they laid out how a future vaccine would be prioritized and when the public can expect it to be released.
Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services, had three main messages: The project is on track to meet its timeline goals; the department is “maximizing” the probability of having tens of millions of vaccines by January 2021; the regulatory standard against which a vaccine is judged will not be affected by the accelerated timeline.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT: VACCINE PRIORITIZATION
Along with discussing the department’s vaccine investments, senior officials also addressed how vaccine distribution will be prioritized.
Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said that the elderly (especially those in nursing homes), healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals like those with chronic illnesses will be the first to get a vaccine.
“The plan here does include having tens of millions of doses ready to go, which is unlike anything that’s been done before,” said Collins. “But that won’t be enough on day one for everybody in the United States. So we would want to prioritize those people at higher risk, who would, therefore, get the greatest benefit from being early immunized.”