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White House vaccine chief says first Americans could be vaccinated next month

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Moncef Slaoui, the leader of the U.S. government effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, said the first Americans to receive a vaccine – if all goes according to plan – could be as early as the second week of December.

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to vaccination sites within 24 hours of approval, so I might expect the second day after approval, December 11 or 12, hopefully. first people will be vaccinated across the United States, in all states, in all areas where state departments of health have told us where to deliver the vaccine, ”Slaoui told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday on“ l ‘State of the Union’.

Pfizer submitted an emergency use authorization request to the United States Food and Drug Administration for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate on Friday, and an FDA vaccine advisory committee is expected to meet on December 10. .

Slaoui said that means that, if cleared, the vaccine could be rolled out the next day.

Slaoui also said that, based on the plans, the amount of the population that needs to be vaccinated for life to get back to normal is expected to occur in May.

Slaoui told Tapper that with the level of efficacy that has been shown in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, “about 70% of the vaccinated population would allow true herd immunity, which is likely to occur somewhere in the world. month of May, or something like that based on our plans. “

A new Gallup poll found that 58% of Americans said they would be vaccinated against the coronavirus if there was an FDA-approved vaccine available now at no cost.

“I really hope and can’t wait to do it,” Slaoui said, seeing the level of negative perception of vaccines decrease and people’s acceptance increase, as this will be essential in helping.

“Most people need to be vaccinated before they can resume normal life,” he said.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, offered a more conservative timetable, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘State of the Union’ last week that he believes the country could start getting back to relative normality by April or July 2021 and saying he thought it could be done by the second or third quarter of next year.

“So if the overwhelming majority of people take the vaccine, and you have an effective vaccine on the one hand, and a high rate of vaccine uptake on the other hand, we could start to bring things down to a level. relatively normal. we’re entering the second and third quarters of the year where people can start to think about doing things that were too dangerous just a few months ago, ”Fauci said at the time.

Fauci warned that vaccines must come, that they must be deployed and that fundamental public health measures cannot be abandoned.

Experts have said that initially there will not be enough vaccine for everyone. Priority groups, which include health workers, the elderly and people with underlying health problems, will receive the vaccine first.

Slaoui added on Sunday that while the vaccine is under consideration for emergency use by the FDA, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will review data on vaccines and publish advice to all states regarding populations. should be given priority for vaccine distribution.

Then, Saloui said, it will be up to states to determine how the vaccine is distributed locally.

“Each state will decide independently, taking into account the guidelines, who to vaccinate,” he added.

“Some states may therefore make different decisions depending on their population and situation,” Slaoui added, stressing again that those most at risk, frontline workers and health workers will be among the first to receive a vaccine in the coming months.

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