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Distributing a COVID-19 Vaccine Across the U.S. – A Look at Key Issues

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Government officials hope to identify one or more safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines over the next few months as part of a multi-agency effort known as Operation Warp Speed. If and when they succeed, their focus will shift to making sure people across the country can access the vaccine.

A new issue brief lays out some of the key challenges with such a massive vaccination effort, which could require hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to be delivered across the country in a short period of time. The brief describes the leading vaccine candidates for the U.S. and what’s known about the federal government’s plans for distributing a successful vaccine or vaccines across the country and the challenges, including the potential need for billions of dollars in additional funding.

It also examines issues around supply, logistics and monitoring; the role of the federal, state and local governments; insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs; racial and ethnic disparities; and building public confidence about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

The brief is part of KFF’s broader portfolio examining the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including original policy analysis, polling and journalism.

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