- A White House official said that every American will have access to a coronavirus vaccine by June of 2021.
- COVID-19 vaccine administration to healthy Americans may begin as soon as late-March or early April, in a best-case scenario.
- A majority of Americans will need to take the vaccine to conquer the coronavirus pandemic.
During a TV interview this weekend, Brett P. Giroir, the current Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, said that every American will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June.
The news is encouraging, especially amid early concerns regarding the ability of companies like Pfizer and Moderna to manufacture enough doses to vaccinate a sufficient amount of people. Recall that the coronavirus vaccine requires two doses administered three weeks apart, which is to say that 20 million doses, for example, is only enough to vaccinate 10 million people.
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An estimated 75-85% of Americans will have to take a coronavirus vaccine to establish herd immunity, according to Dr. Fauci. As it stands now, 2 million Americans have received a COVID-19 vaccine, which is to say we have a long way to go before we can put the pandemic behind us.
“With good mitigation steps,” Giroir said, “with increasing vaccinations, particularly among those who are vulnerable, we should see clearly a light at the end of the tunnel. But we’ve gotta keep disciplined, gotta keep vigilant, right now as we vaccinate.”
At the same time, many health experts have stressed that the arrival of coronavirus vaccines isn’t a reason to take safety guidelines less seriously.
“We get so kind of blinded by vaccine euphoria — the light at the end of the tunnel — that we underestimate how long that tunnel is, and how dangerous that tunnel is”, Peter Sands, an executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, said recently.
The first and current batch of coronavirus vaccine doses is being prioritized for healthcare professionals. Following that, the rollout of the vaccines will be made on a state-by-state basis. So while some states are prioritizing frontline essential workers like firefighters and individuals over the age of 75, other states are prioritizing individuals of any age who happen to have existing comorbidities like diabetes.
Earlier this month, U.S. officials said that 20 million people will have been vaccinated by the end of January. With only 2 million people vaccinated thus far, vaccinations will really have to ramp up over the next few weeks in order to meet that target.
According to Operation Warp Speed advisor Moncef Slaoui, the U.S. is aiming to vaccinate 100 million people by the end of February. It’s an ambitious goal, to be sure, but is hopefully one that the U.S. can meet.
“So between mid-December and the end of February,” Slaoui said, “we will have potentially immunized 100 million people, which is really more or less the size of the significant at-risk population,” comprising the elderly, health care workers and first-line workers.”