I hope this note finds everything well for you and yours. I keep watching you saying there is no “plan” to inoculate the country with the soon-to-be approved vaccine for COVID.
I thought I would share with you what I have learned doing minimal research on the Internet because, apparently, there is a plan.
I have no Presidential Daily Brief nor do I have any staff to advise me, but I do have a brain and the ability to read, think critically, and to differentiate chicken salad from chicken excrement.
Here is what I have learned:
1. There is a team overseen by an Army general considered to be crackerjack in the logistics racket — best of breed. His name is Perna, Gustave F Perna.
General Perna, a 4-star general, with three decades of service, is an accomplished chap who has degrees from Valley Forge Military Academy and College, the University of Maryland, and the Florida Institute of Technology (masters in logistics management).
Technically, he is the Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed and was confirmed by the Senate.
His last assignment was as the Commanding General of the US Army Material Command. He was, prior to that assignment, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army G4, meaning he was in charge of how the entire Army gets stuff.
Old Boy may be the Nation’s top large scale, life-or-death logistician.
2. There are 3,000,000 Americans in nursing homes/long term care facilities who will be the first recipients of the vaccine as soon as the Food and Drug Administration approves the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of which are under application awaiting imminent FDA approval under an Emergency Use Authorization.
Fun Fact: Not a single COVID positive patient given the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines during the Phase III trials died after receiving the vaccine. This says something very interesting for our most exposed slice of America. Bravo!
The quicker we can deploy the vaccine, the quicker the death rate of our most vulnerable demographic will decline. This is where most of the death are.
3. Pfizer, Moderna, and the Army have been hard at it rehearsing the distribution scheme with full dress practice sessions. There are some very technical storage requirements that require precise refrigeration at the distribution centers and these problems are currently under control.
There is a ton of vaccine already deployed in the field awaiting release from the FDA. In much the same way that Operation Warp Speed drove companies to make the vaccine before it was fully tested, Warp Speed has also had the finished vaccine manufactured and deployed before it’s fully approved.
That bit of aggressive planning and risk taking is why it has taken only ten months to create a vaccine rather than the more typical 3-5 years. You may want to mention your gratitude to President Trump when you have a moment.
The Orange Man gets credit for putting the boot up the ass of the appropriate bureaucrats, but there is a huge team focused on the distribution logistics. This is a triumph of American medicine, planning, logistics, and balls. Well played.
4. The US government has contracted with both CVS and Walgreens to give the actual inoculations — two per patient some 21-28 days apart. They signed this deal three months ago and had identified CVS/Walgreens more than six months ago.
5. In the case of the nursing homes in America, every nursing home has elected which of CVS or Walgreens will come to their facility and administer the shots.
Some 31,000 nursing homes have selected CVS to provide the shots for them whilst a slightly smaller number, 23,000, have selected Walgreens.
Every one of the initial 3,000,000 nursing home residents is on a shot target team and their home is contracted with either CVS or Walgreens.
CVS and Walgreens are a likely pick as they already have done the same thing — onsite inoculation of the annual flu shot — with these same nursing homes many times — for decades. It takes them less than eight weeks to cover the entire nursing home industry for the flu and they indicate they will be much faster on the COVID vaccine.
CVS and Walgreens think they can cover the entire nursing home industry — two shots — in 6-8 weeks.
6. CVS and Walgreens, again inoculating nursing home residents for the flu for decades, will make three visits to each nursing home to administer the two shots.
CVS and Walgreens have more than 20,000 locations nationwide and, again, all the nursing homes have chosen a supplier.
7. The vaccine will be provided free of charge by the US government which has purchased millions and millions of doses of the vaccines through the Operation Warp Speed project.
8. CVS and Walgreens, who again have been doing this sort of thing for decades, will be paid a fixed rate by Medicare of $16.94 for shot #1 and $28.39 for shot #2.
Both of these capitalist, for-profit companies have formed teams, assigned every team to a specific nursing home, and have been practicing for months on how to administer as many shots as they can per day and anticipate being in the field vaccinating within twenty-four hours of the FDA approval.
You may want to explore this capitalism idea. It works.
9. After the high risk recipients are inoculated, CVS and Walgreens will then use their 20,000 locations, their apps, and a 1-800 number to manage the rollout of the vaccine to the rest of the country.
Both CVS and Walgreens already have much of America in their databases because of their normal business in the drug store game. They’re everywhere.
This is only one of a great number of other distribution channels built on how the country administers 170,000,000 annual flu shots, so they can handle more than half of the US population handily.
10. That flu shot thing is something I suggest you focus on as we have been doing this for a long time also.
I hope this note is useful and that you will now stop saying “there is no plan, there is no plan.”
There is a plan and it is easy to find out about it. Make sure to greet (touch elbows) General Perna when y’all meet. The guy is good.
With kindest regards, I am
The Big Red Car
There is a plan; there is a plan; there is a plan — and now even Joe Biden knows about it.