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Most Americans Won’t Be Able to Get a Coronavirus Vaccine Until Well Into 2021
The first doses will likely be reserved for health workers and others at high risk
By Anna Edney, Josh Wingrove, and Robert Langreth
August 10, 2020, 1:37 PM PDT Updated on August 10, 2020, 3:25 PM PDT
Even if the most optimistic projections hold true and a Covid-19 vaccine is cleared for U.S. use in November, the vast majority of Americans won’t be able to get the shots until spring or summer next year at the earliest.
That likely timeline, based on interviews and remarks from top specialists including Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, means businesses, schoolchildren and families will continue to wait.
In an interview, Fauci, who has also been involved with White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine program, said it may take until well into 2021 for vaccines to reach the much of the general public.
“I would hope that by the time we get well into the second half of 2021 that the companies will have delivered the hundreds of millions of doses they have promised,” said Fauci.
The reasons are many. U.S. health regulators will have only a tiny sliver of the usual safety and efficacy data. The leading products require two doses, which will limit how many people early supplies can help. And government health officials are still developing a plan for who will get the shots, how they’ll be distributed, and how their effectiveness and safety will be tracked afterward.
“For three, to six, to nine months, there will be more people wanting a vaccine than there are vaccines,” said Stephane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna Inc., the biotechnology company developing one of the furthest-along inoculations.
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