The first batch of Americans to receive a Covid-19 vaccine could get them as soon as December 11, according to the chief scientific adviser for the US government’s vaccine program.
Dr Moncef Slaoui told US media the plan was to “ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours” of a vaccine being approved.
“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, part of the “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine program, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The US Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss whether to authorize the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech for emergency use.
The vaccine, which requires two doses administered about three weeks apart, has been shown to be 95% effective with no major safety concerns. Pfizer expects to have enough doses to protect 25 million people by the end of the year.
The vaccine will be distributed based on each state’s population, Slaoui said. Each state will decide who gets the vaccine first with the recommendation that priority be given to health care workers, front-line workers and the elderly who face the highest risks of dying from the virus.
About 70% of the population needs to be immunized to achieve herd immunity, a goal the country could reach by May, he said.
The comments come amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the country.
The US has recorded more than 12 million cases and 255,000 deaths, the highest tolls registered anywhere in the world.