Left Menu
Development News Edition

EXPLAINER-When will COVID-19 vaccines be generally available in the United States?

Trump has said enough vaccine would be available for every American by April, while the CDC director said vaccines were likely to reach the general public around mid-2021, an assessment more in line with most experts. Pfizer Inc said on Friday it could file for U.S. authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech in late November, suggesting it is possible a vaccine could be available in the United States this year.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 16-10-2020 23:40 IST | Created: 16-10-2020 22:57 IST
EXPLAINER-When will COVID-19 vaccines be generally available in the United States?
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI

U.S. President Donald Trump and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have disagreed about when a COVID-19 vaccine would become widely available. Trump has said enough vaccine would be available for every American by April, while the CDC director said vaccines were likely to reach the general public around mid-2021, an assessment more in line with most experts.

Pfizer Inc said on Friday it could file for U.S. authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech in late November, suggesting it is possible a vaccine could be available in the United States this year. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A VACCINE TO BE GENERALLY AVAILABLE?

General availability is when every American who wants the vaccine can get it. There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines approved by U.S. regulators, although a handful are in late-stage trials to prove they are safe and effective. Experts estimate that at least 70% of roughly 330 million Americans would need to be immune through a vaccine or prior infection to achieve what is known as herd immunity, which occurs when enough people are immune to prevent the spread of the virus to those unable to get a vaccine.

HOW LONG BEFORE VACCINE PRODUCTION IS FULLY RAMPED UP? The CDC anticipates that up to 700 million doses of vaccine will be available in April of 2021, enough to vaccinate all Americans because most vaccines in development require two doses per person.

It has forecast that 35 million to 45 million doses of vaccines will be available in the United States by the end of this year from the first two companies to receive authorization. The current front-runners are Pfizer and Moderna Inc. Though 35 million to 45 million doses sounds like a lot, obtaining enough doses to inoculate everyone in the United States will likely take until later in 2021. CDC Director Robert Redfield told a congressional hearing in September that most Americans will be vaccinated by July, not April.

Drugmakers have been more ambitious with their calculations. Pfizer and BioNTech SE have said they expect to have 100 million doses available worldwide by the end of 2020, but did not specify how much of that was earmarked for the United States. Moderna has said it is on track to make around 20 million doses by the end of the year and between 500 million and 1 billion doses a year beginning in 2021. AstraZeneca Plc has said it could deliver as many as 300 million doses of its experimental vaccine in the United States as early as October but its U.S. trial has been on hold since September.

WHO WOULD GET AN APPROVED VACCINE FIRST? The CDC has said that if supplies are limited, the earliest inoculations may go to healthcare workers, people at increased risk for severe COVID-19, people aged 65 years and older and essential workers.

It is unclear when a vaccine will be available for children as major drugmakers have yet to include them in late-stage trials. Pfizer and BioNTech have approval from regulators to start recruiting volunteers as young as 12 for vaccine studies. WHICH COMPANIES WILL LIKELY ROLL OUT A VACCINE QUICKLY?

Pfizer/BioNTech said it may have data as early as October and Moderna says it could have similar evidence in November. The vaccines would first need to be approved or authorized for emergency use by U.S. regulators, and Pfizer says it expects to have the safety data it needs in the third week of November to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drugmakers have already started manufacturing supplies of their vaccine candidates to be ready as soon as they get the go-ahead. The U.S. Department of Defense and the CDC plan to start distribution of vaccines within 24 hours of regulatory authorization.

Several drugmakers including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc have said they expect to produce at least 1 billion doses of their vaccines next year if they get regulatory authorization. Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline Plc are also working on developing a vaccine they say could be authorized next year.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Turbulence surrounding tobacco control in Ghana

... ...

Refugee compassion and response: Ideas to mitigate disasters now and in their future

Their homeland becomes a forbidden territory for them and more likely than not, their journey to foreign soil is no less traumatizing, not to say deadly. It is crucial to help refugees live a life of dignity and purpose....

Inadequate water infrastructure causes a tidal wave of coronavirus in rural Alaska

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Japan to loosen work rules on foreigners stuck due to pandemic

Japan is loosening regulations on part-time work for foreigners stuck in the country due to the novel coronavirus and having trouble supporting themselves, the government said on Tuesday. While temporary, the measures - which take effect fr...

Rugby-Argentina captain, players suspended over racist posts

Pablo Matera has been stripped of the Argentina captaincy and suspended along with team mates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino for posting racist comments on social media, the Argentine Rugby Union UAR said on Tuesday.The scandal has thrown ...

U.S. arms sales to UAE draw fire from 29 rights groups

Twenty-nine arms control and human rights organizations have signed a letter opposing the sale of 23 billion worth of missiles, fighter jets and drones to the United Arab Emirates and asking the U.S. Congress to block the deal. The hope is ...

Palm tree helps toddler survive 4-story fall from apartment

A two-year-old girl is recovering after falling early Monday from a fourth-floor window of an apartment in Miami. A palm tree under the window helped slow the speed of the fall and the child landed in some bushes, Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ig...

Give Feedback