A medical worker injects a syringe from a phase 3 vaccine trial of a volunteer at Ankara University Hospital Ibni Sina in Ankara, Turkey, on October 27, 2020. This vaccine candidate was developed against the new coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) by US-based Pfizer. and the German company BioNTech.
Dugkan Keskinkilic | Anadolu Agency Getty Images
The entire US population can be vaccinated against Covid-1
“Hopefully by the middle of the year, I hope most Americans will be immunized, which means that the level of hesitation that currently exists will be reduced because people will learn more … about the vaccine,” Moncef Slavey said. , chief scientific adviser on White House operation Warp Speed, told The Washington Post in a live interview.
If immunized enough, he said the United States “should have this pandemic under control in the second half of 2021.”
Two companies – Pfizer and Moderna – have now applied for an emergency permit from the US Food and Drug Administration for their coronavirus vaccines, which could be given the green light in just a few weeks. Slavey said there would be approximately 40 million doses available by the end of the year, which would be enough for 20 million people, as both vaccines require two shots per person.
He said a “large number” of doses were being produced, but that this was “a small number compared to the US population and the need we have”, adding that people should continue to follow public health guidelines, such as wearing face and maintaining physical distance from others in the meantime.
Initial doses are likely to be set aside for first-line healthcare workers, followed by vulnerable Americans, such as the elderly or those with major illnesses, who put them at higher risk of serious illness. A panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, will vote on Tuesday on who should be the priority for vaccinations.
“Although we are all very excited to release these vaccines, it will take some time before the entire population is immunized,” Slavey said.
Operation Warp Speed is working with six pharmaceutical companies to develop, manufacture and distribute their Covid-19 vaccines. In addition to Pfizer and Moderna, the federal government has supply agreements with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax for the first doses of their vaccines after authorization.
Slavey said Moderna and Pfizer are likely to deliver between 60 million and 70 million doses by January, which would be enough for at least 30 million people as each takes two rounds of doses, he said. After January, other vaccines could be added to the mixture if approved by the FDA, adding an additional 30 million and 50 million doses from other companies, he said.
“Very soon we will start taking more than 150 million doses a month in March, April, May,” Slavey said.
However, many more doses of vaccine will be needed to inoculate nearly 8 billion people worldwide and achieve so-called herd immunity.
Each of the six companies in the operation’s portfolio has the capacity to produce between 500 million and 1 billion doses by the end of 2021, which could deliver up to 6 billion doses of vaccine next year.
However, there are other vaccines under development that could help supply, he said. As of November 12, 48 vaccines have been in clinical trials and more than 200 are under development worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
“I think it’s reassuring because between this and the other vaccines that are being developed, I would hope that by early 2022 or mid-2022, most of the world has been immunized,” Slavey said.
– CNBC Berkeley Lovelace Jr.. contributed to this report.