White House Vaccine Chief Says First American Could Get Vaccinated On December 11

The first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the United States could get it as soon as December 11, according to the White House. 

An application to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate was submitted by the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Friday. A meeting of an FDA vaccine advisory committee is slated to be held on December 10 when approval is likely to be given.

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation 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,” Dr Moncef Slaoui, the head of the US coronavirus vaccine programme told the media.

“Hopefully, the first people will be immunized 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,” Dr. Slaoui said.

These comments were made even as the number of Cvoid-19 cases are surging in the US.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 12 million Americans have been infected by the disease while 255,000 people have dies of it. Those are the highest numbers in the world.

It is possible to roll out the vaccine the day after it is authorised by the FDA, Dr. Slaoui said.

It would not be until the month of May that life can return to normal in the country, he said, basing his calculation on the proportion of the of the population who will be required to be vaccinated so that normalcy can return.

Based on the level of efficacy that has been shown by the vaccines of both Pfizer and Moderna, Dr. Slaoui said “70 per cent or so of the population being immunised would allow for true herd immunity to take place, that is likely to happen somewhere in the month of May, or something like that based on our plans.”

“Most people need to be immunised before we can go back to a normal life,” he said.

A more conservative timeline was offered by Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert. Relative normality can return to the US by April or July of 2021, he believes and said that complete normal life in the country can be established by the second or third quarter of 2021.

However coronavirus cases are “rapidly rising” across the country, warned the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Americans have been advised not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday on November 26 by the CDC to prevent the spread of the disease through transmissions.

This Thanksgiving, gathering at home by Americans should be limited to those from the immediate households, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said.

(Adapted from TheHindu.com)

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