The US Army general in charge of distributing America’s first coronavirus vaccines says he’s confident it will be done safely, even if it’s not done perfectly.
“I am absolutely, 100%, confident that we are going to distribute safely, this precious commodity this vaccine needed to defeat the enemy, Covid,” Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said at a news conference Saturday. “Many of you want to know who will receive the first vaccine. And while I leave that up to the experts at the Health and Human Services organization, I remind you of this: Nearly 100,000 Americans have already rolled up their sleeves and participated in clinical trials across America. They were the true first recipients of the vaccine.”
Perna said the federal government was only delivering half the doses on hand, because Pfizer’s vaccine, which received US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization Friday, requires two doses.
“For me, it’s a moral responsibility and obligation to make sure that second dose is available for the American people,” Perna said. “We want to ensure the vaccine arrives safely and that it can be effectively administered once arrival occurs. I t is so important that all vaccine that’s available is utilized as a shot in an arm and nothing is wasted.”
Perna said vaccines should be delivered Monday.
“The reason why we’re holding on to the second dose, as well as some reserve, is that we don’t have absolute confidence in the cadence – not because Pfizer or Moderna or the supporting manufacturers and fill-finishes aren’t diligent in their process. But it is such a delicate process, we want to ensure perfection in the vaccine because we don’t want anything going into an arm that would be a problem,” Perna said.
Hear how the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed: