Operation Warp Speed: The first step to returning to normal

Right now, the coronavirus vaccine is going out to rural America, and it could be the first step in returning to business as usual.

The goal of Operation: Warp Speed is to deliver 300 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans as soon as possible.

Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski, Warp Speed’s Head of Supply, Production, and Distribution says that the vaccine is going out to health care providers and nursing homes, but doses for other essential workers are coming soon.

According to Ret. LT. Gen. Ostrowski, “So next week, what you will start to see is vaccines becoming available in pharmacies as well as other public health centers for the general population 75 and older, and as well as the essential workers. As far as when you start to see the actual vaccines getting to the rest of America, group two if you will, I anticipate that being the later part of March, early April.”

According to the CDC, food and ag workers are included in the Phase One B group, as well as teachers, fire fighters, and police officers.

Ostrowski also says that one to two million doses are being produced each week and capacity is expected to continue to grow.

“Over time in the month of January, we will see large volumes coming out of both Moderna and Pfizer as we move forward, and even more in February, and then hopefully we bring in Jansen and their product or Astra Zeneka and their product,” he states. “So, we are able then to increase the number of doses universally made available to the American people.”

Despite the quick production of the vaccine, he says that Americans can trust the science behind the medicine.

“What we learn over time is that certain diseases have certain characteristics in common, and so because of that, vaccines or the basis of vaccines are able to be built around those particular types of diseases and then tweaked...towards a particular outbreak such as COVID-19,” he explains. “So, that’s how we got where we are at today, those fifteen years of science that went into the process well before COVID-19 was even known.”

As Americans look for hope during the pandemic, he says that the country will do what we do best: “In any crisis, we as Americans come together. That is our strong suit no matter what the crisis is, we will pull together and we will figure out a way. The Herculean effort, the all American approach, the number of partners in industry, the number of partners in the government who wanted to be a part of something bigger than what they are individually, the number of participants in our clinical trials that came forward to be part of something bigger.”

The government is also shipping syringes and protective equipment with the vaccine to ensure pharmacies and providers have everything they need for distribution.