Distribution of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has “already begun,” Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the logistics chief of the United States’ vaccination effort, said Saturday.
The vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration authorized for emergency use Friday night, isn’t quite out on the road yet, but the overall process is off and running, and doses have been moved from manufacturing sites to the central distributor, McKesson, Perna said. Boxes are being packed and loaded at McKesson centers, he added, and will go out on UPS and FedEx trucks Sunday morning.
“Distribution of Moderna vaccine has already begun.”#OperationWarpSpeed’s Gen. Gustave Perna says of the latest Covid-19 vaccine to be granted emergency use authorization in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/VVf0BcgLoN
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 19, 2020
“We have absolute confidence” McKesson and the two delivery companies “will deliver vaccines to the American people in a safe and timely manner,” Perna said. Over the next week, 5.9 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will be shipped out, he said, along with another 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already been rolled out.
While Perna was optimistic about the next stage, he also took responsibility for shortcomings involving the Pfizer-BioNTech rollout. Several states said the federal government has cut their anticipated vaccine allotments for next week by about 40 percent without explanation. Perna gave them one when he briefed the press Saturday, apologizing to the affected governors and stating that “nobody else failed” but him. He clarified there is no problem with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the distribution process, chalking it up instead to a planning error that overestimated the amount of vaccine available. Tim O’Donnell