Durbin Receives Briefing from Operation Warp Speed About COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today was briefed by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and officials from Operation Warp Speed and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.  Durbin received an update from health officials on how they plan to improve transparency, predictability, and accountability on the allocations and shipments of vaccine doses to Illinois, following inconsistent reports from the federal government about expected amounts of vaccines that would be available. The briefing occurred as an Advisory Committee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting to evaluate the second COVID-19 vaccine candidate, produced by Moderna.

“Americans are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as the Pfizer vaccine is making its way across the country. This is welcome news and a testament to the hard work of America’s trusted researchers and scientific experts to establish the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. As the federal government moves forward in making decisions on purchasing doses, distribution strategy, and timelines, it is imperative that we be as transparent as possible in order to maintain public confidence in the process. I will continue working with Illinois officials to hold Operation Warp Speed accountable and ensure our state can smoothly and equitably implement this public health campaign,”Durbin said.

As part of the ongoing effort to negotiate a new bipartisan, emergency COVID-19 relief package, Durbin has supported additional funding for vaccine distribution and development, support for testing and public health monitoring, and more personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The Pfizer vaccine received an emergency use authorization (EUA) last Friday, and 2.9 million vaccine doses were shipped nationwide on Sunday, with Chicago receiving 23,000 doses and the rest of Illinois receiving 86,000 doses (Chicago is treated as its own jurisdiction by CDC).