Vials containing the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are sorted in an undated still image from a video at a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium.
Pfizer | Reuters
Five federal agencies have told their employees they could get Pfizer or Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine in just eight weeks as the U.S. prepares to distribute the potentially life-saving doses across the country, one person plans firsthand.
According to the Centers for Disease Control's "Interim Playbook" vaccination program, key federal employees will be among the first Americans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus after the nation's health care workers. The plan lists key workers as well as the elderly and other high-risk groups in the first phase of its vaccine distribution plan, which is ongoing and could change.
State Department diplomats aged 70 or older, or in a vulnerable population group, may qualify for early vaccination, said the person who asked not to be named as vaccines have not been approved by companies and distribution plans are still in place to be worked out.
When to do it depends a lot on how quickly the Food and Drug Administration can clear both companies' vaccines for emergencies. Pfizer, who developed its vaccine with German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, announced that it will submit its application sometime on Friday and Moderna is expected to follow suit soon.
If any of the vaccines aren't FDA approved, it would delay the timing, the person said. How quickly the vaccine can be distributed also depends on a number of other factors, including the manufacture and availability of consumables.
The CDC lists the agencies who would receive the doses directly from the federal government: the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Indian Health Service, and the Veterans Health Administration.
The Bureau of Prisons is working with the CDC and the federal government's public-private partnership (Operation Warp Speed, OWS) to ensure the BOP is ready to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it comes is available, spokesman Emery Nelson said in a statement.
Representatives from the other agencies declined to comment or were not immediately available. Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA, and the CDC had no immediate comment.
The FDA process is expected to take a few weeks and an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine is tentatively scheduled for early December. Some Americans might get their first dose of vaccine in about a month.
If Pfizer's application is approved by the FDA, the vaccine is likely to be very limited and phased in. According to the CDC's playbook, healthcare workers would get the vaccine first, followed by the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, and other key workers such as those who work in government.
– CNBC's Amanda Macias and Will Feuer contributed to this report.