Story at a glance
- Pfizer could receive emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate by mid-December.
- Moncef Slaoui estimated 70 percent of the U.S. population could receive a coronavirus vaccine several months into 2021.
- Tens of millions of people in the U.S. could be vaccinated in the weeks and months following an emergency use authorization.
The chief adviser to the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed estimates the U.S. could reach herd immunity from the coronavirus in May as immunizations are expected to begin sometime next month.
During an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Moncef Slaoui estimated 70 percent of the U.S. population could receive a coronavirus vaccine several months into 2021.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser of Operation Warp Speed, says first Americans could receive a Covid-19 vaccine by December. "So I would expect, maybe, on day two after approval ... hopefully the first people will be immunized across the United States." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/UvQpPi0pl9— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 22, 2020
“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I would expect maybe on day two after approval, on the 11th or on the 12th of December,” Slaoui told CNN Sunday.
“Normally, with the level of efficacy we have, 95 percent, 70 percent or so of the population being immunized would allow for true herd immunity to take place,” he said. “That is likely to happen somewhere in the month of May, or something like that, based on our plans.”
Slaoui’s comments on Sunday come after Pfizer applied for emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine Friday, which the drugmaker said showed to be 95 percent effective in phase 3 clinical trials. A second vaccine from Moderna is expected to be submitted for emergency authorization soon as well.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca also announced Monday that its vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University has shown an average efficacy of 70 percent in large-scale trials.
Tens of millions of people in the U.S. could be vaccinated in the weeks and months following emergency use authorization. Health care workers and the most vulnerable populations are first on the list to receive the vaccine.
The estimate comes as the U.S. is seeing cases of the coronavirus rise at an alarming rate in nearly every state. More than 167,000 new cases are being reported each day with 1,470 new deaths, according to The Covid Tracking Project. Currently, 83,870 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, a record high.
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