The leader of the US effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine said the first inoculations could take place as early as 24 hours after Food and Drug Administration approval, which would kick off the biggest campaign inoculation of United States history from mid-December.
“Within 24 hours of approval, the vaccine will be moved and located in areas where each state has indicated to us where it wishes to receive vaccine doses,” Dr Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser of “Operation Warp Government Speed ”. vaccination program, told NBC Meet the press.
External FDA advisers will meet on December 10 to discuss whether to authorize the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for emergency use. Slaoui told TBEN he expected vaccinations to start on the second day after approval, December 12.
Moderna Inc is expected to seek approval later in December for its COVID-19 vaccine.
The effort to roll out vaccines across the nation of 330 million people comes as US President Donald Trump blocked the normal transition of government ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Slaoui said he hoped for a smooth transition and did not expect the vaccination effort to derail.
The vaccines will be distributed according to the population of each state, Slaoui said. Each state will decide who gets the vaccine first by recommending that priority be given to healthcare workers, frontline workers and the elderly who are at greatest risk of dying from the virus.
About 70 percent of the nation’s population must be vaccinated to gain herd immunity, a goal the United States could achieve by May, Slaoui said.
Millions ignoring Thanksgiving warnings
As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, millions of Americans are ignoring federal and state warnings to stay home for Thanksgiving to avoid overwhelming already strained hospitals. Many people try to get tested before the Thursday vacation, resulting in long lines in New York and elsewhere.
Testing shortages still plague many parts of the country, with most pharmacies offering COVID-19 testing in suburban Chicago being fully booked ahead of Thanksgiving and long lines at state drive-through testing facilities .
“We are clearly involved now in a very, very difficult wave here in the United States and even around the world,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, told NBC.
Last week, Biden called the immunization program a “massive undertaking” and “one of the greatest challenges we will face as a nation.”
The United States must distribute tens of millions of vaccines while combating misinformation about vaccines spread on social media. A recent Gallup poll showed that only 58% of Americans would receive the vaccine, up from 50% in September.
New White House chief of staff Ron Klain said it was crucial to have a transparent flow of information between Trump’s coronavirus experts and Biden’s transition team to avoid distribution delays after Biden took office on January 20.
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Biden warned last week that “more people will die if we don’t coordinate.”
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has exceeded 12 million and has increased by more than a million cases in less than a week for the first time.
Deaths topped 256,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, and many health experts warn deaths will rise to more than 2,000 a day in the coming weeks.