Gottlieb says widespread coronavirus vaccine availability 'more likely a 2021 event'

Gottlieb says widespread coronavirus vaccine availability 'more likely a 2021 event'
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A coronavirus vaccine likely won't be available for widespread distribution until 2021, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday.

The health expert said there are a "lot of uncertainties" when going from scaling up manufacturing of a vaccine from an experimental basis to get quantities available for the wider population. 

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"When you try to scale up and get volume, a lot of things can go wrong, a lot of things can be delayed. It's very hard to get to the point where you're manufacturing at high, high quantities," Gottlieb said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I would say thats' probably more likely a 2021 event that we're going to have a vaccine available in sufficient quantities to mass inoculate the population," he added. 

Gottlieb noted that people may need two doses of a potential vaccine. If 200 million people are eligible and want a vaccine, it may take 400 million doses to do so. 

"It's probably a 2021 event," he said. 

Gottlieb, however, said he thinks a vaccine will be available in the fall to "ring fence an outbreak" in a city or to inoculate a "certain portion of the population on an experimental basis."