Army General Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, acknowledged during a briefing on Saturday that there had been a “miscommunication” with states about how many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer would be initially available to them.
Perna’s briefing came afterthe number of doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine they were expecting to receive next week has been cut, with little information as to why. Perna said he took “personal responsibility” for this miscommunication, saying that he had to revise the allocation of doses to certain states after getting more information from Pfizer about the amount of vaccine available.
“Please accept my personal apologies if this was disruptive to your decision-making,” Perna said, directly addressing state governors. He also said he would personally brief governors on Monday.
“There is no problem with the process. There is no problem with the Pfizer vaccine. There is no problem with the Moderna vaccine. It was a planning error, and I am responsible,” Perna said. He said that he did not understand “with exactness” all of the steps that had to occur before he could release all of the vaccine available.
Perna’s briefing came after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Moderna vaccineon Friday evening. Perna said that Operation Warp Speed would not “cut corners” in distributing the vaccine. He announced that distribution has begun, with FedEx and UPS trucks rolling out starting on Sunday.
The Moderna vaccine has been authorized for people aged 18 or older. Six million initial doses will soon be shipped out across the country.
“With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day,” FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a press release announcing the decision.
The Moderna vaccine is expected to be about 94.1% effective, similar to Pfizer’s vaccine, which was approved last week. But unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s does not need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures.