Today, Vice President Mike Pence led a discussion with the chief executives and senior leaders of approximately 50 states, territories, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss local, state, and federal COVID-19 response and recovery efforts including the continued collaboration on vaccine distribution and administration planning and execution. The Vice President and governors of both parties discussed the positive news of the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization (EUA) and the shipments of the initial allocations of a safe and effective vaccine. The authorization is a tribute to presidential leadership, scientific advancement, and private sector innovation.
The Vice President discussed with governors the ongoing whole-of-government effort to mitigate and respond to COVID-19, the ongoing robust partnership to prepare for the distribution and administration of a safe and effective vaccine with our nation’s governors and public health jurisdictions, and provided an update on key state and federal medical supply chain management efforts. The Vice President also reminded governors about the multi-layered, transparent, and independent vaccine approval process. Governors highlighted their best practices on distributing and administering a safe and effective vaccine including:
- Arizona Governor Doug Ducey;
- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards;
- Maryland Governor Larry Hogan;
- North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper;
- North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum;
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott; and
- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice
FDA Commissioner Dr. Hahn and CDC Director Redfield provided an update on vaccine and therapeutic developments with a focus on the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which was granted an emergency use authorization on December 11, 2020.
Secretary Azar provided an update on Moderna’s vaccine trial, the submission of the company’s EUA application, and distribution and administration coordination with states. Secretary Azar reiterated the rigorous standards of vaccine the approval process-even in the context of an expedited timeline created by Operation Warp Speed. Secretary Azar also highlighted CDC and NIH executive summaries on monoclonal antibodies and other treatments to increase hospital resiliency and encouraged governors to redouble their collaboration with health care professionals in their state to ensure earlier use of monoclonal antibodies to prevent severe illness and hospitalization.
General Perna provided an update on vaccine distribution and administration planning and execution efforts including collaboration between public and private sector partners and discussion on the status of and process whereby the recently authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is being allocated, shipped, and distributed to states.
Administrator Verma discussed her recent letter to Governors regarding CMS’ comprehensive strategy to enhance hospital capacity and dialysis center vaccination.
Ambassador Birx provided an update on data and trends from across the Nation and discussed engagement meeting with state, local, and community leaders. Dr. Birx highlighted encouraging signs in the Heartland and areas of the Midwest, and also mentioned some signs of improvement in the Sunbelt amid an increase in cases. Additionally, Dr. Birx urged Governors to encourage clinicians to use monoclonal antibodies and remdesivir early in treatment of COVID+ patients, in line with recent CDC and NIH guidance documents.
Participants from the White House Coronavirus Task Force:
- Vice President Mike Pence
- Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
- Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator
- Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- General Gustave F. Perna, Chief Operation Officer, Operation Warp Speed (OWS)
- Director Anthony Fauci, M.D., National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
- Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
- Director Robert Redfield, M.D., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS
- Administrator Pete Gaynor, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Brigadier General David Sanford, Defense Supply Center & Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, DOD
Since January 2020, the Trump Administration has organized and hosted 44 governors-only briefings to drive effective communication and collaboration at every level of government. Public health incidents, like natural disasters, are locally-executed, State-managed, and Federally-supported. This is likely the most robust Federal-State collaboration in our Nation’s history.