Sec. Azar says governors will decide how to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine

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Alex Azar

FILE – In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pauses while speaking during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, in Washington. The government opened a new program Tuesday to provide an HIV prevention drug for free to people who need the protection but have no insurance to pay for it. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNS) – Governors will decide who in their state will get access to the COVID-19 vaccine first, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Pharmaceutical giant Moderna applied for emergency use authorization for its vaccine today, one week after Pfizer made the same request. An FDA advisory committee will meet on December 10th to discuss the Pfizer application. Azar tells CBS approval could come within days of that meeting, and if it does, the vaccine could be available in the United States by Christmas.

He says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will create guidelines for how the vaccine should be distributed to the population, possibly prioritizing vulnerable populations like those in nursing homes or people with a high risk of exposure like front-line medical workers. However, when the federal government ships the vaccine, the governors in each state will direct its distribution.

Secretary Azar added that he hopes the governors will follow the CDC recommendations.

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