HHS Sec. Azar: COVID Vaccine Thanks To President Trump's Operation Warp Speed | Video | RealClearPolitics

HHS Sec. Azar: COVID Vaccine Thanks To President Trump's Operation Warp Speed

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FBN: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar talks to FOX Business' Charles Payne about the latest on coronavirus vaccine development and distribution.


CHARLES PAYNE, FOX BUSINESS HOST:  Meanwhile, folks, the chiefs of Operation Warp Speed saying today that they're ready at the drop of a hat to get the vaccine to the American people, the Department of Defense relying confidence -- relaying this confidence, rather, that they can roll out these doses week after week without stopping. 
 
At the same time, though, we're also getting more good news from the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, that their trial here in the States is going very well.  
 
But where do we stand on this, the nitty-gritty of it, bringing life back to normal? 
 
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar joins us now. 
 
Secretary Azar, thank you very much.  
 
The first question is always about who gets the vaccine first, since we know there will be a limited amount. Has that been worked out, who gets it first and why?  
 
ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY:  Well, Charles, we're still working on the prioritization as we look at the data. 
 
But you should be thinking about groups that are the most vulnerable, whether it's our seniors in nursing homes, or those with comorbid conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to serious complications, or our health care front-line workers and first responders. Those are the types of groups that we have spoken about as in those first tranches of distribution.  
 
But that product is just going to keep coming off the manufacturing lines. And we will just keep expanding the groups and availability of vaccine week after week, as General Perna from the Defense Department has talked about.  
 
PAYNE:  Now, the concern is now sort of focused to the nitty-gritty, the nuances really of getting that vaccine out, I mean, from the refrigeration requirements to equipment, like special gloves.  
 
Has all of that been accounted for? Is the money there? Is the manufacturing happening? 
 
AZAR:  It's all -- it's all there, thanks to President Trump's Operation Warp Speed.  
 
When we built this system back earlier this year and partnered with the Defense Department to lead it, right away, General Perna in the OWS team contracted for needles and syringes and dry ice and diluent to mix the vaccine, personal protective equipment.  
 
So, we now have 100 million kits already prepared and ready to marry up with approved vaccine to get out there. And we're building more as we speak.  
 
So, all of those complications, all of those details have been worked out by the incredible logistics operations and distribution team that we have in Operation Warp Speed.  
 
And the core to it, Charles, is we're relying on existing tried-and-true systems. We're using the private sector. We're using the infrastructure that gets vaccine out there, not just every day, but every year, whether it's flu or other vaccines, to the American people.  
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