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WASHINGTON — The federal government is working double-time with pharmaceutical companies and drug makers on finding a vaccine for COVID-19, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Azar laid out the parameters of President Trump’s new initiative to find a vaccine called “Operation Warp Speed”, a push to find a vaccine as quickly as possible.

“What we’re doing is bringing the inefficiency out of the development process to make the development side faster to get safe and effective vaccines,” Azar said. “At the same time, we’re going to scale-up commercial size manufacturing and produce hundreds of millions of doses.”

Azar, the former CEO of Eli Lilly, said it’s the Trump Administration’s goal to have 300 million doses of an effective vaccine ready for distribution by January. He acknowledges a vaccine for any disease has never been found that quickly before but stresses it’s imperative we find a vaccine as soon as possible for the sake of both people’s health and the economy.

“This gets set up as a ‘health vs. economy’ kind of conflict so to speak. It’s actually ‘health vs. health’,” he said. “We see suicidality, we see a reduction in cardiac procedures, cancer screenings, pediatric vaccinations. There is a very real health consequence to these shutdowns that must be balanced against as we try to reopen this economy.”

Azar said they started this process with over 100 potential candidates for a vaccine and have since narrowed that list to 14 and will continue to narrow that list in order to figure out how to bet allocate federal funding towards speeding up the making of a vaccine.

He doesn’t rule out having different types of a vaccine for different “populations and settings.”

Over 87,000 people throughout the United States have died from coronavirus since the pandemic first hit the country.