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COVID-19 vaccine distribution could start in mid-December, official says

New UPS Healthcare facility in the Netherlands to have freezer farms to hold vaccines (Photo: iStock)

Distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. could begin as early as Dec. 11, the lead adviser for Operation Warp Speed said on Sunday.

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I would expect maybe on day two after approval, on the 11th or on the 12th of December,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui said during an interview on CNN.

Slaoui’s comments came after Pfizer submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization to approve its candidate vaccine. An application from Moderna for its vaccine candidate is expected soon.

Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government’s coronavirus vaccine program, has been ramping up preparations to distribute doses across the country. On Wednesday, officials said they expect about 40 million doses of vaccines could be available by the end of December. 

Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine candidates have so far emerged as the most promising ones in development, with preliminary data showing efficacy rates around 95%.

The companies have already manufactured and stockpiled doses in anticipation of the rollout. 

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]