6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses expected to be shipped to states by mid-December

States will begin receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in mid-December, but will make their own determinations on who will be first in line for a shot.

An estimated 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine will be distributed to states and territories by the middle of next month, assuming it receives Food and Drug Administration authorization by that point, Operation Warp Speed officials told reporters Tuesday.

State officials were notified Friday how many doses they should expect to receive in the initial distribution, and they will make their own decisions about who will be prioritized for the first doses.

The administration is working with states and Pfizer to test the vaccine distribution networks through a dry run exercise this week.

Still, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the agency is working on recommendations for prioritization, and he suggested health care workers, people living in nursing homes and other vulnerable people should be first in line.

“[Governors] will decide whom the vaccine is given to. We hope that our recommendations will carry weight with them but at the end of the day they will make that decision,” Azar told reporters.