The Company Set to Roll Out America’s Future Vaccine
The scoop on McKesson Corporation, the company contracted by the White House to make sure Americans get Covid-19 vaccines
When the U.S. approves a Covid-19 vaccine, millions of doses will need to be transported and distributed across the country in stages. It’ll be a huge effort — likely the biggest vaccine distribution effort in U.S. history. To do the job, the White House has contracted a company called McKesson Corporation. In August, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated McKesson Corporation’s role in documents outlining the White House’s vaccine distribution strategy.
This isn’t McKesson Corporation’s first vaccine-distribution rodeo. The company, founded 187 years ago and the seventh-largest U.S. company in terms of revenue in 2019, was also responsible for managing the distribution of the H1N1 vaccine to as many as 90,000 sites across the U.S. during the 2009 swine flu outbreak. At the time it was the biggest public health initiative in the history of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The company has also had an existing contract with the CDC to distribute childrens’ vaccines since 2016, and its role in distributing vaccines during the pandemic is based on that contract. Its success during the H1N1 epidemic bodes well for Covid-19 rollout, but U.S. public health infrastructure may continue to pose problems.
As I wrote previously, the specifics of how a vaccine will be distributed by McKesson — and who will get it first — are not yet clear. In an email to the Medium Coronavirus Blog, Robert Redfield, PhD, director of the CDC, said: “Through the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, CDC will play a vital role in deciding, based on input from experts and stakeholders, how initial, limited vaccine doses will be allocated and distributed while reliably producing more than 100 million doses by January 2021.” McKesson shared its public statement about its CDC partnership with the Blog but did not answer questions.
There does seem to be a plan to determine where exactly McKesson will distribute vaccines, according to the HHS. A spokesperson for the agency tells the Blog that ensuring easy access for all Americans, notably minority…