COVID-19 vaccine program head Dr. Moncef Slaoui said the first Americans to receive a coronavirus vaccine could get it as soon as December 11.
‘Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December,’ he said on ‘State of the Union’ with Jake Tapper.
Pfizer submitted an emergency use authorization application to the Food and Drug Administration and a committee there is set to meet on December 10.
Slaoui pinpointed December 11 or December 12 as the first dates vaccines would be available.
Slaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, also said he believed life in the U.S. could get back to normal in May.
Operation Warp Speed head Dr. Moncef Slaoui (right) spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper and said he believed on December 11 or 12 the first Americans could get vaccinated – and life could get back to normal by May
Pfizer has asked for an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration and the agency is meeting December 10
Slaoui, the chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, is photographed talking in the White House Rose Garden on November 13. He said Sunday that while it would be helpful to talk to the incoming Biden administration, he promised the effort isolated from politics
Both Pfizer (left) and Moderna (right) have promising COVID-19 candidates. Pfizer has requested an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, which is meeting on December 10. Slaoui estimated the first vaccines could be given out in the U.S. on December 11 or 12
Tapper had asked how many Americans needed to be vaccinated for that to happen.
Slaoui said with the efficacy shown by the vaccine candidates about ’70 per cent or so of the population being immunized would allow for true herd immunity to take place.’
The plan is to have 20 million Americans vaccinated in December and 30 million per month in the months following.
‘That is likely to happen in the month of May or something like that, based on our plans,’ he continued.
‘I really hope and look forward to seeing that the level of negative perception of the vaccine decreases and people’s acceptance increases. That is going to be critical to help us,’ Slaoui added. ‘Most people need to be immunized before we can go back to a normal life.’
Pfizer and also Moderna have promising vaccine candidates and Moderna is also expected to ask the FDA for an emergency use authorization in the coming weeks.
There are more than 12 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US
Cases started to spike again in October and have continued to do so in November, prompting some large cities to implement new lockdown restrictions
Slaoui indicated he agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who has said he’d like to be able to speak with officials on President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to ensure a smooth hand-off.
President Donald Trump has, so far, refused to concede the election to Biden, thus preventing the transition from getting started.
‘Of course. Smoothness is what we all aim for,’ Slaoui told Tapper.
Slaoui assured the CNN host, however, that the Operation Warp Speed team has tried to stay away from politics.
He made similar statements to NBC’s Chuck Todd on ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday.
‘So, frankly the operation is – has been isolated from, from the administration, from the political environment and the political context. We worked very hard to make sure that’s the case,’ he told Todd.
‘And therefore, all decisions are made, the train is running, whether one administration or the other doesn’t, frankly, make a difference,’ Slaoui continued. ‘I hope there is no disruption in any way.’
Slaoui also said he’d be ‘very happy to’ work with the new administration.
He’s been doing the work on a volunteer basis.
There are more than 12 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US with at least 255,909 deaths.
New viral cases doubled in just three weeks after the previous doubling had taken six weeks.
And as a consequence, many states are adopting or considering new restrictions on businesses.
Maryland has limited stores and restaurants to 50 per cent capacity. Retailers in most of California are now capped at just 25 per cent and gyms, restaurants and movie theaters are closed to indoor customers.
California has also implemented a curfew. Residents of California are being asked to be back home by 10pm and remain there until 5am. The curfew began Saturday and will end December 21.
Illinois and Washington have limited stores to 25 per cent capacity.
New lockdown restrictions have also limited public and private in-person gatherings.
Health officials have warned Americans to stay home for the holidays and refrain from hosting large Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.
It’s feared that such gatherings will only continue the spread of COVID-19 in America.
Jim O’Sullivan, an economist at TD Securities, has forecast that the US economy won’t grow at all in the final three months of the year — down from his earlier forecast of a 3 per cent annual growth rate in that quarter — and will shrink 2 per cent in the first three months of 2021.
He, like most economists, expects a rebound starting in the second quarter once a vaccine is widely distributed.
O’Sullivan’s forecasts assume that Congress will agree on roughly $1trillion in new stimulus for the economy by early 2021.
Yet so far, there’s no sign of progress toward an agreement. More than 9 million people will lose their unemployment aid at year’s end, when two jobless aid programs are set to expire, unless Congress extends them. Consumer spending will likely fall further.