Two top officials in President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed delivered highly optimistic news in a series of media interviews on Monday about the timeline in which Americans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Two vaccines, one from Moderna and one from Pfizer, have been developed in historic time thanks to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed and both have an efficacy rate of over 94%.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the scientific head of Operation Warp Speed, told Fox News on Monday night that the vaccines have “almost perfect efficacy against severe disease.”
“We are also producing a few millions of doses of vaccine in preparation for approval. Both vaccines have now been submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization, expected around the 11th or so of December for Pfizer and around the 18th or 19th for the Moderna vaccine. And, hopefully, we will start rolling vaccine doses,” Slaoui continued. “However, it’s very important to know that the number of doses we have is limited compared to the size and the need. We need 600 million doses. Everybody needs to get two shots of the vaccine. It’s going to take a while, a few months, before we are able to produce enough vaccine to immunize the full population.”
Slaoui added that this month alone, there will be between “35 to 40 million doses, enough to immunize about 20 million people.” He added that he thinks that herd immunity will be achieved by May or June of 2021.
In a separate interview on CNN, Slaoui said that it would take “two or two-and-a-half months” before “all Americans who need it on a priority level” are able to get it.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of the government’s effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, says “it’s going to take a while for all Americans who need it on a priority level to get it.”
“Over probably two or two-and-a-half months they will all get it,” he added. pic.twitter.com/Tg0UihtoOD
— CNN (@CNN) December 1, 2020
In an interview on MSNBC, Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski (Ret.), the director of Operation Warp Speed’s supply, said that every American who wants the vaccine will have gotten it by June.
“100% of Americans that want the vaccine will have had the vaccine” by June, Ostrowski said. “We will have over 300 million doses available to the American public well before then.”
“100% of Americans that want the vaccine will have had the vaccine” by June.
— Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski (Ret.), Operation Warp Speed Supply, Production & Distribution Director pic.twitter.com/3UFGYJNBWI
— The Recount (@therecount) November 30, 2020
“Despite the chaos in day-to-day politics and the fighting over issues like masks and lockdowns, Operation Warp Speed — the government’s agreement to subsidize vaccine companies’ clinical trials and manufacturing costs — appears to have been working with remarkable efficiency,” The New York Times reported in October. “It has put more than $11 billion into seven vaccine candidates, and the F.D.A. has said it will approve any one that is at least 50 percent effective at preventing infection or reducing its severity.”
The report noted that the U.S. was “faring much better than it did during the Spanish influenza,” which cost 675,000 Americans their lives, adding, “the country’s population at the time was 103 million, so that toll is equivalent to 2 million dead today.”
“Events have moved faster than I thought possible. I have become cautiously optimistic,” New York Times science reporter Donald McNeil Jr. wrote. “Experts are saying, with genuine confidence, that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected, possibly by the middle of next year.”
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