Covid Vaccine Could Reach First US By Mid-December: Top Health Official

Moderna and Pfizer caused massive share price surges across stock markets earlier this month when they each announced that they were close to launching a vaccine for coronavirus.

Slaoui said he hoped for a smooth hand-off and did not expect the vaccination effort to be derailed.

"The roll-out for people between 18 and 50 years old could start late January, after older people and front line workers are vaccinated, according to the Telegraph".

Once a vaccine receives emergency use authorization, the Operation Warp Speed program will begin shipping vaccines to distribution centers across the U.S. However, immunization can not start until the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meet and issue a recommendation on who gets the vaccines first.

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Slaoui said earlier Sunday that he looks forward to seeing the level of negative perception of the vaccines decrease and people's acceptance increase, as that will be critical to help.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the majority of the country must be vaccinated.

Slaoui's comments follow the announcement on Friday that Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, have asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine - which has been found to be 95% effective.

While millions of people in the USA could be vaccinated in the weeks and months following an emergency use authorization, Slaoui said it will be well into 2021 before the nation would be able to achieve herd immunity.

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Last week, however, Fauci offered a more conservative timeline, telling CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" last week that he thinks the nation could start getting back to relative normality by April or July of 2021 and saying he thought that would be possible to achieve by the second or third quarter next year. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that dozens of other countries have also expressed their wish to buy Russian COVID vaccines, including EpiVacCorona, that was registered in October.

FDA vaccine advisors are reportedly set to meet from December 8 to 10 to discuss the approval of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which are allegedly 95 percent effective.

There are new efforts on the race for a vaccine for Covid-19. Pfizer's experimental vaccine requires ultracold storage, at about -70°C.

In the United States, the first people to receive the Pfizer vaccine would likely include doctors, nurses and front-line emergency medical personnel, as well as those at the highest risk of severe illness and death from the virus, Slaoui said.

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"Within 24 hours from the approval, the vaccine will be moving and located in the areas where each state will have told us where they want the vaccine doses", Slaoui told NBC's "Meet the Press".

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