The United States expects to begin a vaccination program against COVID-19 in early December, said the head of the group that is leading efforts to tackle the pandemic in government.
“Our plan is to be able to send the vaccines to the vaccination sites within 24 hours after approval” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Moncef Slaoui told CNN.
“So I hope maybe the second day of approval, December 11th or 12th.”
Read: Pfizer will apply for authorization to market COVID-19 vaccine in the US
FDA advisers are reportedly meeting Dec. 8-10 to discuss approval of vaccines that Pfizer and Moderna say are at least 95% effective.
The senior official also said he hoped that once the mass inoculation campaign was launched, the country could achieve “herd immunity” in May.
“Normally, with the level of effectiveness that we have (95%), immunizing approximately 70% of the population would give you true herd immunity. It will probably happen in May, or something like that depending on our plans, ”he said.
“I really hope that the level of negative perception of the vaccine will decrease and the acceptance by people will increase. This is going to be essential to help us, ”he insisted, alluding to the distrust of many about the vaccine.
The request had been expected for several days, after the publication of the results of the clinical trial carried out since July among 44,000 volunteers in several countries and according to which the vaccine would be 95% effective against COVID-19, without serious side effects.
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The US agency announced that a public meeting of its vaccine advisory committee will be held on December 10 to consider the application.
The opinion of this committee is advisory. The decision to authorize the vaccine or not will depend on FDA scientists, and could be made as early as the first half of December.
The Donald Trump administration plans to vaccinate 20 million people at risk in December, after 25 to 30 million per month.
The United States is the country most affected by the virus in absolute terms, crossing the threshold of 12 million cases and more than 255,000 deaths.
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