US vax tipped to begin before Dec 15; 100mn to get shots by Feb
The chief advisor of the US Covid-19 vaccine development programme is confident that at least 100 million people would have got coronavirus shots by the end of February 2021 and this operation would have covered the entire “at risk” population comprising the elderly, frontline workers and those with comorbidities.
Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Moncef Slaoui said he hopes to have emergency use authorization for at least one vaccine by December 10 or 11.
Slaoui pointed to “exceptionally good data” from both the vaccines which have applied for emergency use authorization – Pfizer and Moderna.
He is hoping for a “breakthrough” from a Johnson and Johnson vaccine that has now recruited more than 28,000 subjects.
“Now the breakthrough that we hope with this vaccine is that it’s a one shot vaccine, with very fast efficacy achieved and 100 per cent compliance, so to speak, since everybody will get one shot and get the full vaccination schedule.”
Warp Speed CEO General Gustave Perna, confirmed his team is ready to ship vaccines “within 24 hours” of approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
The distribution will be executed by private companies including McKesson Corp., a health care company that has wide experience in the distribution of flu vaccines.
Slaoui reminded Americans that it “will be very important” for everyone who gets the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine to come back three or four weeks later, to get their second vaccine dose to complete the immunization schedule.
Across the Atlantic, Britain became the first country in the world to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday and is on track to launch its biggest ever vaccination drive within days.
The coronavirus has killed more than 1.4 million people around the world since it first emerged in China, a year ago.
In America, the virus has sickened more than 13.8 million people and killed more than 272,000 by December 2.