“Be thinking people in nursing homes, the most vulnerable, be thinking health care workers who are on the front lines,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary for health and human services, said on the CBS program “This Morning” on Monday.
He said the C.D.C. advisers would base their recommendations on the latest data on virus cases across the country. Asked about the role of states in the distribution process, he said that doses would be shipped out through normal vaccine distribution systems, and governors would be “like air traffic controllers,” determining which hospitals or pharmacies receive shipments.
Although governors will determine which groups are prioritized, he said he hoped that they will follow the federal recommendations. He added that he would speak to governors on Monday afternoon with Vice President Mike Pence. In response to a question about how officials could guard against people using money or connections to jump the proverbial line, Mr. Azar vowed to “call out any inequities or injustices that we see.”
The White House moved quickly to take credit for the progress on vaccines. “President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is rapidly advancing on a trajectory of success to save millions of American lives — five times faster than any other vaccine in history,” Michael Bars, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement.
Over all, about 13.3 million Americans have contracted the virus, and more than 265,900 have died. In November alone, there were more than four million new cases and 25,500 deaths in the United States. Worldwide, there have been nearly 62 million cases and almost 1.5 million deaths.
More than 70 coronavirus vaccines are being developed around the world, including 11 that, like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, are in large-scale trials to gauge effectiveness.
One of those is made by AstraZeneca, which announced positive but puzzling preliminary results on Nov. 23: Its vaccine was 90 percent effective in people who received a half dose and then a full one, but 62 percent effective in those who received two full doses. Researchers are waiting for more data.