The federal government has asked states to start preparing for the distribution of the Coronavirus Vaccine by November. However, US officials and public health experts believe that people will most likely not be vaccinated until the middle of 2021.
Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca are the three potential vaccine developing companies who are in the late stage of vaccine testing. U.S health officials believe that one of these three companies will have a vaccine prepared by the end of this year.
Coronavirus Vaccine Experts Suggestions
The vaccine can only be available for all once the Food and Drug Administration has cleared it. After getting the green signal for public distribution, the vaccine will be most likely to be short in supply. Experts believe that at least two doses at will be required at varying intervals.
The states will also face logistical challenges like the setting up of distribution sites and getting fine needles, syringes and bottles to carry out immunisation on a large scale.
Currently, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have asked McKesson, a medical supply company, to set up sites for vaccination by the 1st of November across the U.S. The states might need to waive some licensing and permit requirement to complete the process in due time.
What Doctors Say about the Coronavirus Vaccine?
Dr Moncef Slaoui, the leader of the Trump administration’s Operation War Speed initiative, said that it is extremely unlikely for the vaccine to be prepared by November in an interview with NPR. However, if all conditions required for granting an Emergency Use Authorization are met, there could be an approval. The chances are not impossible but quite slim.
Dr Moncef also said that once the vaccine is ready, it will be produced “in quantities that can immunise patients at the highest risk, which means old people, 70 years and older, and maybe people that are highly exposed on the first line.”
A former FDA commissioner, Dr Scott Gottlieb, believes that vaccinations carried out on a large scale are probably a “2021 event.” He also mentioned that the vaccine will be authorised in stages by the FDA. He then stated that “incremental groups are getting access to the vaccine through the end of this year, assuming that they work and that they’re demonstrated to be safe and effective.”
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have also released a draft proposal for Coronavirus Vaccine distribution, if it becomes available, on Tuesday. They were asked to do this by the National Institutes of Health and the CDC.
There will be four phases of distributing the Coronavirus Vaccine:
- Ist Phase: health-care workers, older adults and people with underlying health conditions will be vaccinated first.
- IInd Phase: Essential workers, teachers, people in homeless shelters, and prisoners will be next in line.
- Phase III: Children will get the vaccine.
- Phase IV: Lastly, young adults will be vaccinated.
Slaoui states that the entire stock of vaccines prepared by the end of the year will be taken up by the 17-20 million U.S health care workers. He also believes that about 25 million people will be vaccinated by the end of 2020. Lastly, he mentioned that the country would “be able to immunise the U.S. population by the middle of 2021.”
According to the Gottlieb CNBC Interview
Gottlieb told the CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the vaccine is going to be available in 2021; “maybe it’s more like the first half of 2021 … but it’s going to slip into 2021.” He said that the FDA’s emergency approval allows “to stage the authorisation, the access to the vaccine, to different high-risk groups while they continue to collect data.”
It will also “allow the FDA to collect a lot of data, post-market data, around the use of a product and effectively stand up what would be the equivalent of a registry where they’re continuing to collect safety and efficacy data on people as they get vaccinated.”
Gottlieb also stated that he thinks getting a vaccine from the doctor’s office or a distribution site is only going to be possible in 2021.
The WHO also agrees that it doesn’t think global vaccination will be possible before the middle of 2021. The third and last phase of testing takes longer as scientists need to confirm that the vaccine is “truly protective.”
WHO statement on the COVID-19 vaccine
According to Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, “You also need to see how safe it is. There are earlier phases you do look at safety, and you look at safety very, very carefully before you go into phase three. But you need to be following safety at all stages, so that makes it a longer process.”
According to a forecast prediction, the US death toll due to Covid-19 will be more than 410,000 by this year’s end as winter is returning. Keep in mind that winter is the peak season for all types of coronaviruses like MERS and SARS. It will probably hold for Covid-19 too. It is by new projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
The COVID-19 death toll has already reached 186,800 in the US, according to John Hopkins University records. The IHME model predicts that the death rate will double by January 2021. It may even go as high as 620,000 if the states continue easing restrictions, and people do not follow public health guidance.