The money will be sent through CDC's existing immunization cooperative agreement and will help support 64 jurisdictions as they plan and implement COVID-19 vaccination services, HHS said.
The amount each jurisdiction receives is determined based on the size of the population there.
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WHY THIS MATTERS
As the end of the year approaches – along with Operation Warp Speed's deadline for getting a vaccine approved – preparations for distribution have begun.
HHS has said that vaccines will be distributed and administered as soon as one is deemed safe and effective.
Vaccine prioritization will be necessary, however, according to HHS officials. The elderly (especially those in nursing homes), healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals like those with chronic illnesses will likely be the first to get a vaccine.
In addition to releasing these funds, HHS and the Department of Defense released two documents last week outlining the administration's strategy to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses as quickly and safely as possible. One is the OWS strategy for distribution and the other is an interim playbook for jurisdictions.
THE LARGER TREND
Despite promises from HHS that a vaccine would be free of charge, America's Health Insurance Plans recently warned that, as the vaccine becomes more widely available and potentially delivered through doctors' offices and pharmacies across the country, providers may charge an administration fee to cover some associated costs.
Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine candidate became the fourth to enter into Phase 3 of its clinical trial on Wednesday. It follows Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca's clinical trial had a bump in the road after a participant in the U.K. trial became ill. The company restarted its U.K. trial, but the one in the U.S. remains paused.
ON THE RECORD
"By building on close partnerships with the states and other jurisdictions we have worked with for years on vaccination programs, we have the ability to begin distributing and administering safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are authorized and available," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "With these $200 million in new funds, jurisdictions can develop and update plans for the eventual distribution and administration of the safe and effective vaccines that will help bring this pandemic to an end. The federal government, including experts from CDC and the Department of Defense, is ready to assist where necessary."
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