The US government has unveiled a plan to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans free of charge as early as January. The US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Defence jointly released two documents on Wednesday, outlining the Trump administration’s vaccine distribution strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic.The document highlights a goal to deliver safe and effective vaccine doses to sites, with “no upfront costs to providers and no out-of-pocket cost to the vaccine recipient,” the strategic distribution overview reads.

“We are working closely with our state and local public health partners … to ensure that Americans can receive the vaccine as soon as possible and vaccinate with confidence,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Wednesday. “Americans should know that the vaccine development process is being driven completely by science and the data.”According to the details sketched out in the statement, initially, there may be a limited supply of vaccines available, and the focus will be on protecting health workers, other essential employees, and people in vulnerable groups.

The Pentagon would be involved in the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers would be the ones giving shots.“As part of Operation Warp Speed, we have been laying the groundwork for months to distribute and administer a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it meets FDA’s gold standard,” said Azar in the statement. The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed is aimed at developing and delivering a COVID-19 vaccine to the public in record time through contracts with seven different drugmakers.

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While some of the leading vaccine candidates have moved into large phase three trials, it’s still not clear if any of the vaccines sponsored by the administration will be successful. The aim sketched in Operation Warp Speed is to have vaccines moving to administration sites within 24 hours after an emergency authorisation.As per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, the US — the worst affected country from the COVID-19 pandemic — has a total of 6,616,458 cases and 196,436 deaths due to the pathogen. 

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