U.S. Army General Gus Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Saturday he expects the first COVID-19 vaccine shipments will arrive at 145 sites in states across the country on Monday.
Perna said at a midday briefing the Pfizer vaccine will begin moving to UPS hubs within the next 24 hours, and will go out to 636 locations nationwide. Vaccines will be distributed to 425 sites on Tuesday and 66 sites on Wednesday.
Frontline medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to get the vaccine.
“We are not done until every American has access to the vaccine,” Perna told reporters. “I have 100% confidence that we will get vaccines to the American people and it will be safe and it will be secure when it arrives.”
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use, the go-ahead to start delivering nearly three million doses of the vaccine across the country.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the vaccines will ship via UPS and FedEx. UPS says the process has already begun, and it has already shipped vaccine kits with supplies including syringes, masks and a diluting agent for the Pfizer vaccine, which will be used to administer the drug.
U.S. Marshals will protect the vaccine as it travels in Pfizer’s specially built deep-freeze “suitcases” to hundreds of sites nationwide.
Deputies will be stationed at several points in the distribution process to protect storage stockpiles, manufacturers, transports, and receiving facilities. The agency is responsible for disseminating medical materials and pharmaceuticals to the American people in a time of crisis, according to the Strategic National Stockpile Security Operations Program.