THE first Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine could be as early as the second week of December, according to the White House vaccine czar. American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 20 for emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
An FDA vaccine advisory committee is slated to meet December on 10. Dr Moncef Slaoui, the head of the US coronavirus vaccine programme said that it means, if authorised by the FDA, the vaccine could be rolled out the next day (December 11). “Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immu nisation sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I would expect maybe on day two after approval, on the 11th or on the 12th of December,” he told CNN on Sunday. The vaccine, which requires two doses, has been shown by tests to be 95 per cent effective. Pfizer hopes to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of the year. US pharmaceutical company Moderna has also reported that its vaccine is nearly 95 per cent effective, according to test data.
The company is expected to seek approval for the vaccine in the coming weeks. “Hopefully, the first people will be immunised across the United States, across all States, in all the areas where the State Departments of Health will have told us where to deliver the vaccine,” Slaoui said. Slaoui also said that based on plans, the amount of the population who need to be vaccinated for life to return to normal is likely to happen in May.