According to a Health and Human Services playbook released Wednesday, a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan aims to begin delivering doses in January with no out-of-pocket costs to patients. CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, “I think there will be vaccine that will be initially available sometime between November and December, but very limited supply and it will need to be prioritized.” Redfield said the vaccine then will become available to the general population in the third quarter of 2021.
HHS broke down the process into first communicating with local officials to promote the vaccine, distributing it, ensuring the reliability of the supply chain and monitoring the vaccine’s administration. Vaccines will be delivered to a number of locations including doctors offices and retail pharmacies, according to the plan, and no American will be charged for either the COVID-19 vaccine or its distribution. Delivery will happen in phases, starting in a targeted manner with the goal of increasing vaccine acceptance followed by providing widespread access and high uptake in at-risk populations.
The HHS plan requires states and localities to submit plans to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Oct. 16.