Coronavirus

VP Pence, HHS Azar host roundtable in Bloomington as vaccines are distributed around US

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Tuesday afternoon, eyes were on a city south of Indianapolis, where Vice President Mike Pence led a roundtable discussion on Operation Warp Speed. That is the nation’s historic effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.S. has started the largest vaccination effort in American history.

“We want to encourage everyone under the sound of our voice, to be confident that the vaccine, once approved, will be safe and effective,” Pence said Tuesday at Catalent.

Right now, pharmaceutical maker Catalent, in Bloomington, has some 2,000 scientists, engineers and technicians working around the clock, manufacturing the long-awaited vaccines, including those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

“The 2,000 people here are fully committed on delivering on the promise we made a few months ago, that in the next few months, we’re going to deliver hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine. The 2,000 people in this facility are working tirelessly on that promise, Alessandro Maselli, Catalent’s president and COO said on Tuesday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar discussed what the work of manufacturers like Catalent and other vaccine options’ pending authorization means.

“We expect to have enough supplies to vaccinate every American who wants it, by the end of the second quarter of 2021. We believe we will have enough product to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of December,” Azar said.

And that can’t come soon enough, as Indiana battles the deadly virus.

“We can see the light and it’s more than hope,” Gov. Eric Holcomb explained. 

Pence said the FDA could approve the Moderna vaccine by the end of this week. Once that happens, a spokesperson says that within minutes, Catalent will start shipping doses from Bloomington to all corners of the U.S. 

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