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Azar: Nursing homes residents could receive COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas

Azar: Nursing homes residents could receive COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas
© AP/Pool

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday that nursing home residents across the U.S. would be receiving the coronavirus vaccine in the days ahead, and added that the Trump administration aimed to have most of the population of care home residents vaccinated by Christmas.

In an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation," Azar said that "almost 100 percent" of U.S. nursing homes had signed on to the federal government's program to distribute the vaccines.

"It can start really any day," Azar said. "We can have every nursing home patient vaccinated in the United States by Christmas."

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"It's a really remarkable, remarkable prospect for all of us who have loved ones in nursing homes that we may approach Christmas with that level of comfort," he continued.

Azar's assertion follows comments from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen HahnStephen HahnRedfield says Azar pressured him to revise COVID-19 data reports The Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden's first official trip as president The Hill's Morning Report - With trial over, Biden renews push for COVID-19 bill MORE on CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press" indicating that the first patient to receive the vaccine in the U.S. could do so as early as Monday. The general public is expected to have access in several months.

Nearly 300,000 have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. since the pandemic began, and more than 16 million total infections have been recorded.

An investigation from Kaiser Family Foundation in November indicated that more than 100,000 deaths had occurred among residents and staff members of long-term care homes as a result of the pandemic, and most facilities have moved to implement restrictive measures to prevent the virus's spread among vulnerable residents.