• Most Americans will need two doses of any coronavirus vaccine
  • Distribution of the vaccine will be more complicated than the annual influenza campaign
  • Fully a third of Americans say they have no plans to get the vaccine

The federal government Wednesday released a sweeping explanation outlining its distribution plan for a COVID-19 vaccine, which will be free for all Americans, despite growing public skepticism over the way the vaccine is being developed and tested.

The Department of Health and Human Services sent a report to Congress on its plans, along with a playbook for state and local governments on how to provide the inoculations.

Forty vaccines currently are being tested in clinical trials and at least 92 others also are under development. As of Wednesday morning, at least 6.6 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the United States with a death toll from COVID-19 just shy of 200,000, Johns Hopkins tracking data showed.

President Trump has predicted a coronavirus vaccine would be available by Nov. 1, but a Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,199 adults taken Aug. 28-Sept. 3 indicates 62% of Americans are worried about the safety and efficacy of any vaccine, suspecting the Food and Drug Administration is being pressured to rush approval. A Gallup poll of 7,632 adults taken July 20-Aug. 2 indicated fully a third of those queried said they would not get vaccinated.

To achieve herd immunity, an estimated 80% of the population needs to be immune from the disease.

The report said most Americans will need two vaccines, 21 to 28 days apart. The first vaccines will go to healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations.

“Successful implementation of the national COVID-19 vaccination program requires precise coordination across federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, and among many public and private partners,” the HHS report said, adding that “maximum uptake” is essential.

The report said the government is developing a plan for centralized distribution of the vaccine through McKesson, which was involved in flu vaccine distribution during the 2009-10 pandemic. The vaccine will be administered free of charge to all Americans “to ensure no one desiring vaccination will face an economic barrier to receiving one.”

HHS earlier announced deals with several pharmaceutical companies for hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine, hedging its bets on which actually will win approval. Supplies at the outset, however, are expected to be limited. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has predicted adequate supplies of a safe and effective vaccine will be available by spring.

Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the department of Health and Human Services, told Bloomberg every American should be able to get a vaccine by April.

President Trump tried to drum up support.

The playbook recognizes distribution of the vaccine will be more complex than annual influenza immunization campaigns, mainly because of its size. McKesson will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Department of Defense, to ship vaccines to staging sites.

Updated at 11:25 a.m.