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Immediate Release

Readout From the White House Coronavirus Task Force's Governors Briefing on COVID-19 Response & Progress on Vaccine Development, Manufacturing and Distribution

Today, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led a discussion with the chief executives of approximately 50 states, territories, and the city of Washington, DC, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss local, state, and federal COVID-19 response and recovery, and provide an update on Operation Warp Speed efforts to develop, manufacture, and distribute a safe and effective vaccine. 

Ambassador Birx provided an update on data and trends from across the nation, and discussed her recent visits to states in the upper midwest including Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and her upcoming travels through the southeast. Administrator Verma delivered an update on efforts to protect the vulnerable in nursing homes.

Secretary Azar led discussion on federal efforts in coordination with state and local governments to develop, manufacture, and distribute a safe and effective vaccine. Dr. Slaoui reported on the status of the vaccine candidates, outlining the integrity of the robust development and approval process. Dr. Marks discussed the FDA’s role in the vaccine approval process and outlined the safeguards that ensure confidence in safety and efficacy. 

General Perna discussed how Operation Warp Speed is planning for the manufacturing and distribution of a vaccine, including the creation of multiple contingencies based on various potential scenarios and characteristics of the eventual vaccine(s). General Perna highlighted efforts to prepare the entire vaccine supply chain for the distribution of a vaccine including the production of additional supplies such as syringes.

Director Redfield discussed how the federal government will coordinate with state and local governments through the public health infrastructure to distribute a vaccine and discussed several actions governors can be taking now to prepare. Director Redfield also highlighted the five pilot states and communities with which CDC has already worked on microplans (California, Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota, and the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and preparation best practices.

Participants from the White House Coronavirus Task Force:

  • Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
  • Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator 
  • Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., U.S. Food & Drugs Administration (FDA), HHS
  • Director Robert Redfield, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HHS
  • Administrator Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS
  • Director Anthony Fauci, M.D., National Institute for Allergies & Infections Disease (NIAID), HHS
  • General Gustave Perna, Chief Operation Officer, OWS, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Moncef Slaoui, PhD., Chief Advisor, Operation Warp Speed (OWS), HHS
  • Director Peter Marks, M.D., PhD., Centers for Biologics Evaluation & Research, FDA, HHS
  • Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Joint Chiefs of Staff, DOD

Since January 2020, the administration has organized and hosted 36 governors-only briefings to drive effective communication and collaboration at every level of government.