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Remarks at George Washington University COVID-19 Vaccination Site

Alex M. Azar II
December 14, 2020
Washington, D.C.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Dr. Adams, for being here today and for your leadership in promoting the value of vaccination at this time and over the last several years. Thank you to the team at GW for welcoming us here today, and to Mayor Bowser for joining us and for her partnership throughout this crisis.

We’re here today because of the extraordinary medical achievement that our country has delivered this week, through President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed: substantial quantities of a safe and effective vaccine within a year after the virus was first known to the world.

Today, healthcare providers across America are going to work to administer vaccines to the most vulnerable and to fellow healthcare workers. Here at GW, we are marking a ceremonial kickoff to this national vaccination program. What we’ll see here today is representative of what’s happening across America right now.

What you see here today is also a reminder that, as exceptional as Operation Warp Speed is, administering vaccines is something our healthcare system knows how to do very well indeed.

Our hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare delivery sites administer more than 100 million flu vaccines every year. Here at GW, the COVID-19 vaccine is being administered to employees essentially just like the flu vaccine is.

I also want to praise the thoughtful work that GW has done to determine how to allocate early shipments of vaccines among its team: analyzing data about which healthcare workers are at greatest risk for contracting the virus and which are at highest risk for serious outcomes from the disease.

States and communities across the country, like D.C., can use data like this to make the right decisions for how to allocate vaccines, using the recommendations of experts, their own best judgment, and their views on their own local situation.

We’re also here—and I’ll be at many vaccination sites in the coming weeks—to underscore that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, as exciting as it is, is just like getting any other safe and effective vaccine that Americans receive to protect us from illness.

I was pleased to see a new ABC poll released this morning finding that more than 8 in 10 Americans say they plan to get the vaccine. But we still have more work to do in educating Americans about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines.

This FDA-authorized vaccine, and each COVID-19 vaccine FDA potentially authorizes, will have been through the typical numerous stages of safety review, and more. This vaccine has gone through clinical trials much larger than many vaccine trials; it’s gone through the drug company’s checks; it’s gone through an independent data safety and monitoring board; it’s gone through the FDA’s independent advisory committee; it has been subjected to FDA guidelines publicly published stating what FDA would require; and finally, it’s been authorized by FDA’s scientific experts, as I promised.

At 95 percent efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus. Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your country healthy and safe.

So, with that, I will hand things over to Dr. Petinaux so he can explain more about how the administration process is working here at GW.

Content created by Speechwriting and Editorial Division 
Content last reviewed on December 14, 2020