Readout of HHS Secretary Azar’s Remarks to the Department’s Vaccine Consultation Panel

Categories: In The Media and Leadership.

Photo:  HHS Secretary Alex Azar

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
January 14, 2021  –

Today, HHS Secretary Azar joined the department’s Vaccine Consultation Panel (VCP) for discussion of the ongoing work to deliver COVID-19 vaccines across the country. The VCP is comprised of over 40 external organizations representing a wide swath of sectors crucial to the successful launch of a vaccine, including a range of healthcare providers, seniors, patients, minorities, academia, foundations, and business. The group was assembled last summer to exchange information and insights with leaders at the Department and Operation Warp Speed as part of vaccine development and distribution planning. The VCP, organized by the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, held 11 virtual information sessions with OWS, FDA, NIH, and CDC leaders and today Secretary Azar emphasized the importance of having their diverse perspectives and expertise in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, thanking them for the valuable input provided to HHS leadership over the last year.  He noted the important role they have had in educating physicians, nurses, pharmacists, seniors, and many others over the months on the vaccine development process and in working on specific challenges along the way, like promoting minority participation in vaccine clinical trials. The VCP is yet another example of public/private collaboration, a foundational aspect of the government’s response to the pandemic.

During the meeting, Secretary Azar provided an overview of the next phase of OWS’s vaccination plan announced earlier this week. The next phase includes new guidance from CDC to states and jurisdictions encouraging them to expand vaccination to those 65 years and older, and those 64 years and younger who have a comorbid condition; opening up new channels for vaccination including activating the federal pharmacy partnership and over 13,000 federally supported community health center delivery sites to provide vaccinations, and $3 billion in new funds from CDC to assist states with vaccination-related activities; and changes to the allocations process announced earlier this week. These steps will ensure that vaccine doses are being administered as rapidly as possible and Americans are receiving important protection against COVID-19.

Secretary Azar remarked on the current acceleration of vaccinations in states and jurisdictions around the country, with approximately 900,000 reported vaccinations each day over the past two days. He also reaffirmed his commitment to an orderly transition of power, with HHS hosting over 300 meetings with the Biden team, and shared his appreciation for partnerships like VCP as part of the department’s commitment to not only COVID-19 vaccination but combating vaccine hesitancy in general.

HHS COVID-19 Vaccine Consultation Panel Participants

  1. American Hospital Association
  2. America’s Essential Hospitals
  3. National Association of Community Health Centers
  4. American Health Care Association
  5. Leading Age
  6. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
  7. American Medical Association
  8. National Hispanic Medical Association
  9. National Indian Health Board
  10. National Medical Association
  11. American Academy of Family Physicians
  12. American Academy of Pediatrics
  13. American Academy of Physician Assistants
  14. American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  15. National Association of School Nurses
  16. National Black Nurses Association
  17. American Pharmacists Association
  18. National Community Pharmacists Association
  19. AARP
  20. Association of American Cancer Institutes​
  21. American Public Health Association
  22. Infectious Disease Society of America
  23. Dr. Crystal Watson, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
  24. Milken Institute, FasterCures
  25. Rockefeller Foundation
  26. Dr. David Satcher, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine
  27. Dr. Bruce Gellin, Sabin Vaccine Institute
  28. Dr. Mark McClellan, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
  29. Dr. Michael Osterholm, Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota
  30. Senator Bill Frist
  31. Senator Tom Daschle
  32. Kay Cole James, The Heritage Foundation
  33. National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  34. CVS
  35. AdvaMed
  36. Healthcare Leadership Council
  37. National Association of Manufacturers
  38. America’s Health Insurance Plans
  39. American Clinical Laboratory Association


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