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Health and Human Services chief Alex Azar predicted that all of the nation’s nursing home residents could be vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as Christmas on Sunday — as the first doses of the vaccine began shipping from Pfizer’s Michigan manufacturing plant.
“The vaccines are going out as soon as they receive the vaccine. This is according to the governors telling us to ship to them,” Azar said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“We can have every nursing home patient vaccinated in the United States by Christmas. It’s really a remarkable, remarkable prospect for all of us who have loved ones in nursing homes so that we may approach Christmas with that level of comfort that our loved ones have gotten some initial protection already,” he said.
But anchor Margaret Brennan questioned Azar about why drugstore chain CVS recently said it wouldn’t start distributing the vaccine to nursing homes until Dec. 21 under orders from the White House.
Azar replied that there was a “misunderstanding” that has since been cleared up.
“We’re not actually asking the nursing homes to wait. And we were able to have a really good discussion with CVS leadership about this misunderstanding that they had at the president’s vaccine distribution summit,” Azar said.
“So I think we’ve gotten that all straightened out with them and we’ll be getting CVS and Walgreens vaccinating our nursing home people.”
He said almost 100 percent of the country’s nursing homes have signed up for the vaccination operation.
Azar also predicted that 100 million doses will be distributed by the end of February — pointing out that the number of doses will increase substantially if Moderna’s vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the week.