I know that the possibility of not being able to see family and friends over the holidays is heartbreaking for all of us. But because of the President’s support for Operation Warp Speed, because of the incredible work of the U.S. military, public servants at every level of government, and the brilliance of American scientists, we have an end in sight—and we have much happier holidays in the near future. The American people can be confident that hope and help are on the way.
Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining this Operation Warp Speed media briefing today.
As we approach the rollout of safe and effective vaccines, we'll continue to be using these briefings to share the latest information we have with the American people and our partners at all levels of government and in the private sector.
In that same vein, yesterday we held the first of a regular series of OWS-focused briefings with governors, which included myself, General Perna, and our vaccine chief, Dr. Matt Hepburn.
This was a technical level briefing with governors. This, of course, is an addition to the almost weekly briefings that the Vice President chairs with our governors, where Operation Warp Speed and vaccine and therapeutics distribution have been a regular topic of discussion.
The past several days have seen a continuing torrent of good news around COVID-19 vaccines. On Friday, Pfizer submitted data for an emergency use authorization by the FDA, which means we could begin distributing millions of authorized vaccines in just a few weeks.
Then, yesterday morning, AstraZeneca announced promising data from its trials in the U.K. and Brazil.
Through Operation Warp Speed, we have purchase agreements for up to 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the American people.
As all of these pieces come together, we want to try to give Americans the best sense of when our most vulnerable will start receiving vaccines.
As many of you know, the FDA has said it will consult with its independent vaccine advisory board before making a decision on an emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine, and they have now scheduled a meeting for December 10. If all goes well, we could be distributing vaccine soon after December 10.
As General Perna has shared, we believe we can distribute vaccine to all 64 jurisdictions within 24 hours of authorization. Then, we hope administration can begin as soon as the product arrives. One of the private sector partners we've enlisted, CVS Health, has said that they expect to be vaccinating residents of nursing homes—one of the top priority groups—within 48 hours after authorization.
To ensure all of this can happen on such incredibly tight timeframes, OWS and our partners have been running not only tabletop exercises but actual field exercises for the shipment procedures.
This week, for instance, we will be making test shipments with the ordering system that states will use—that is, performing shipments that don't contain actual product in order to ensure all goes smoothly.
These are the kinds of procedures you put in place to ensure a seamless logistical operation, and we are so grateful for the expertise that the U.S. military and our private partners have brought to this task.
While much of our briefing today is focused on vaccines, I want to note that Operation Warp Speed continues to charge ahead on therapeutics, and our therapeutic options continue to expand. We have already distributed more than 120,000 courses of Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody treatment, through state health departments, to more than 2,400 treatment sites across America. We've allocated another 50,000 courses which will ship this week.
Then, following FDA's authorization of Regeneron's antibody cocktail this past weekend, we began distribution of the first 135.000 doses of that product today. This means we have two new options for Americans who aren't hospitalized with COVID-19 but are at risk of progressing to severe disease. I encourage everyone to spread the word: If you test positive for COVID-19 and are over 65 or have underlying conditions that put you at high risk for severe disease, you may have access to a treatment that can help you, and you should get in touch with your healthcare provider or state health department.
Toward the end of last week, FDA also granted an EUA for the use of baricitinib, an anti-inflammatory drug, in conjunction with remdesivir for hospitalized patients. This was based on results from NIH's ACTT-2 trial, coordinated with Operation Warp Speed, which found that there was a statistically significant reduction in hospital stay for that drug combination versus remdesivir alone. This is a product that is already widely available in the U.S.
Over 250,000 people have received convalescent plasma. It's critical that we keep our supplies up to meet demand. Please ask your viewers, readers, and listeners, if they are within 3 months of recovering from COVID-19, please consider giving the gift of life this holiday season. Go to coronavirus.gov, thefightisinus.org, contact your local American Red Cross, or your local American Blood Center to be a donor,
All of this good news should encourage all of us to continue keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. Remember the 3 Ws: wash your hands, watch your distance, wear a mask where you can't watch your distance, and avoid settings where you can't do these things.
With Thanksgiving this week, I encourage Americans to consult CDC's guidelines to understand the risks around gatherings and how you can reduce them.
I know that the possibility of not being able to see family and friends over the holidays is heartbreaking for all of us. But because of the President's support for Operation Warp Speed, because of the incredible work of the U.S. military, public servants at every level of government, and the brilliance of American scientists, we have an end in sight—and we have much happier holidays in the near future. The American people can be confident that hope and help are on the way.
With that, I'll hand things over to Dr. Slaoui to discuss updates on vaccine development.