The US Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has announced the Trump administration hopes to have the Pfizer COVID vaccine – only released on Monday in the country – rolled out to every aged care resident by Christmas.
US aged care homes have been among some of the worst-hit by the virus in the world, with over 100,000 residents and staff believed to have died – almost a third of total US deaths – according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
However, with 1.4 million people living in US aged care homes – and delays in simply being tested for COVID widely reported by aged care operators – the pledge seems unrealistic.
Secretary Alex Azar made the announcement on Sunday, saying that with the Pfizer shipments starting to roll out under emergency authorisation that aged care homes would be some of the first to receive them.
“It’s a really remarkable, remarkable prospect for all of us who have loved ones in nursing homes that we may approach Christmas with that level of comfort,” he told reporters.
“It is nothing short of a medical miracle to have FDA authorization of a vaccine for COVID-19 just over 11 months since the virus was made known to the world.”
Meanwhile, The New York Times has reported White House officials, including those closest to President Trump, will also be among the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Reuters also reported a source close to the President said Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence had both been offered the COVID-19 vaccine.