Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has met with Biden’s interim team and says 20 million Americans could be vaccinated in the next few weeks

At a time when the coronavirus epidemic is multiplying across the country, Azar predicted on CNN’s new day that 20 million people would be vaccinated “in the next few weeks.” He said the Trump administration is in talks with Pfizer to provide additional doses of the vaccine and said the administration would “use all power” under the Defense Production Act to help private companies meet the country’s huge logistical requirements for vaccination.

“I’ve already met Biden’s transition team. We want to make sure they get everything they need,” Azar told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, adding that he would contact Biden’s election to head HHS, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as “appropriate.”

“I want to ensure that every transition is as smooth as possible, as professional as possible, because it’s about ensuring the health and well-being of the American people, and that’s important to me,” Azar said.

Your comments come at a critical time in the pandemic. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in the United States, but significant progress has been made in vaccinations. The UK has already begun introducing the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, became the first state in the world to start vaccinating its citizens, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee is meeting on Thursday to review what is a key step in emergency use. authorization process.
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On the first reports from the UK, including whether “people with a significant allergic reaction” could not get the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, Azar told CNN that the FDA would look into the data and talk to the UK regulators, thus ensuring that the agency “will not cut corners”.

“We want to make sure that every vaccine that appears in America has a full gold standard stamp for FDA careers,” Azar said.

Once the vaccine is approved by the FDA, the federal government would allow the vaccine to be shipped within 24 hours and deliver them directly “wherever the governors told us where they wanted to,” Azar told CNN.

Azar said the focus will be on health care workers and patients in nursing homes.

“Twenty million people will need to be vaccinated in the next few weeks, and then we will only continue to introduce vaccines from production lines during January, February, March,” Azar said.

The coronavirus epidemic represents an average of more than 200,000 new cases of coronavirus per day in the past week, while a record number of people are hospitalized with the virus. More than 286,000 people died and more than 15.1 million were infected by Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Negotiations with Pfizer

Azar also responded to reports that the Trump administration rejected more of the Pfizer vaccine in the summer, before it proved effective in clinical trials, than the original 100 million dose. Without a specific delivery date or quantity – and with vaccine candidates in the U.S. – the U.S. insisted on placing orders for additional doses, but the decision, first reported by The New York Times, raised concerns that the company’s commitment to other countries would not be able to fulfill additional U.S. orders until June.

“We guaranteed the purchase of 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine before the start of Phase III clinical trials. They refused to give us a specific date to commit to manufacturing and delivering additional vaccines, so we provided an additional 500 million options,” Azar said.

Azar said the federal government is in talks with Pfizer, but would not go into details, he just added that “we have opportunities that could reach up to 500 million.” He also said the administration is in talks with other drug manufacturers for additional vaccinations.

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“Over the past few months, we’ve been working with Pfizer to ensure their commitment and agreement to deliver additional doses at our option, by a certain date. We’re very confident that this will happen, but I want the American people to know that the Defense Production under the law, we will use all our efforts to ensure that the American people get what they need. “However, it is unclear whether the administration can use the law to force companies to deliver Americans with the coronavirus vaccine to other nations. edge.

Azar defends the White House Christmas parties

In the United States, despite the growing number of Covid-19 cases, the White House continues to violate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s size limitation guidelines by holding festive parties.
The Trump White House has already been the epicenter of at least three Covid-19 epidemics among staff and attendees of the gatherings they host. Trump’s campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis recently gave a positive result for Covid-19 and was attended by a senior staff on Friday.

Asked if he was feeling well in the White House, which is still hosting such events amid the pandemic, Azar told CNN he “felt safe” at a recent White House Christmas party he attended.

“In fact, I’ve been to one of them before and the people around me – most people – wore masks. We worked to keep our distance. There were dramatically fewer people than in previous years. So I felt good there. I felt safe. Of course I always wore my mask. “- He told.

He urged Americans to “whatever the setting,” to “wash your hands, watch the distance, wear a face mask if you can’t watch the distance, especially don’t let your guard down indoors.”