Indian Health Service announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for Indian Country
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2020
Representatives of the Indian Health Service COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force brief the media on the agency’s vaccine distribution plan on December 11, 2020. As soon as next week, the IHS will begin receiving over 68,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, officials said. These initial doses will be used to inoculate 44,000 health care professionals, plus residents of long-term elder care facilities in Indian Country. The initial doses will be supplemented by a second round, officials said, as the COVID-19 vaccine requires two shots to be considered complete. In total, 11 area offices of the IHS will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Facilities in the Alaska Area have chosen to work with the state of Alaska so their doses will be coming from the state, officials said. The vaccine is being provided by two different companies: Moderna and Pfizer. Both companies are awaiting a decision from the Food and Drug Administration on their emergency use authorization (EUA) applications. Pfizer received a favorable recommendation from the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on December 10. FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn could make a decision on the EUA as soon as December 11. Moderna’s vaccine is going before the FDA committee on December 17. According to officials, the IHS experts to receive about 46,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and about 22,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Speakers on the IHS media call included Rear Adm. Francis Frazier, the lead on the IHS COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force; Cmdr. Kailee Fretland, deputy lead; and Cmdr. Andrea Klimo, Distribution and Allocation Team lead.