Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar sounded an optimistic note as distribution of the Pfizer and Modern vaccines are being ramped up across the United States this week.
“We’re now on offense against the virus,” he said. “The vaccines we are distributing are going to save lives.”
Gen. Gustave Perna, the man in charge of distribution for Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine development program to fight COVID-19, said over 4000 locations will be receiving vaccines between today and tomorrow, with more vaccine doses scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday and Thursday.
Countries around the world have imposed tough travel restrictions on the U.K. because of a new and seemingly more contagious strain of the coronavirus in England.
A growing number of countries halted air travel from Britain, while France banned British trucks for 48 hours while the new variant is assessed.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the strain is “out of control” around London and southeastern England, though experts have said it is not clear whether it is more lethal, and they expressed confidence that the vaccines now being rolled out would still be effective against it.
Moncef Slaoui, the federal government’s chief advisor for Operation Warp Speed weighed in at Monday’s briefing, saying he had spoken earlier with his counterpart in Great Britain to assess what is happening there.
“I think scientifically to date there is no hard evidence that this virus is actually more transmissible,” Slauoi said.
“What’s clear, it’s not more pathogenic,” he said.