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Azar calls Biden claim on vaccine plan ‘nonsense’

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said President-elect Joe Biden’s statement that there “is not plan” to deliver a vaccine for the coronavirus to people across the country “nonsense” during an appearance Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.”

“With all respect that’s just nonsense, we have comprehensive plans from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] working with 64 public health jurisdictions across the country,” Azar said after Fox’s Chris Wallace played a clip of Biden making the remark.

“There is no detailed plan, that we’ve seen anyway, as to how you get the vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into somebody’s arm,” Biden said in the clip shown by Wallace. 

Azar added that the administration was “leveraging our retail pharmacies, our public health departments, our community health centers,” to get a vaccine out.

He said the rollout was “being micromanaged and controlled by the United States military” as well as the private sector.

“We’re leveraging the systems that are known and that work within the United States,” he said.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the number of vaccines being delivered by the end of year is now expected to fall far short of promises from the Trump administration that hundreds of millions of doses would come by the end of 2020. 

Azar said he had also said tens of millions of doses would be delivered by the end of the year and that he had been consistent. He also said career scientists were working to make sure no “red flags” were found on the vaccines, but that he was hopeful approvals could be given in days, and that the vaccines could then be delivered across the country quickly. 

Azar went on to say the vaccines represent “the light at the end of the tunnel” and are “why we need people to hang in there” as far as mitigation efforts such as mask-wearing anf social distancing.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are set to submit their vaccines for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in the next two weeks. Azar said the first doses could be distributed within days of committee approval.

“Those bright days are ahead and want everyone to be there to get their vaccinations,” he added.

The Hill has reached out to the Biden transition team for comment.

 

Tags Alex Azar Chris Wallace Coronavirus Joe Biden

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