November 23, 2020 -- Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine could be approved and roll out across the U.S. at the end of the second week in December, Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, said on several Sunday talk shows.
The first people could receive the vaccine on Dec. 11 or Dec. 12. The goal is to immunize 20 million people by the end of December. Another 30 million could be vaccinated each month after that.
“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval,” Slaoui said on CNN’s State of the Union.
The FDA is scheduled to review Pfizer’s application for emergency use on Dec. 10. Moderna is planning to file its application by the end of November, Slaoui said, which the FDA will evaluate on Dec. 17.
About 70% of the country -- or about 230 million people -- would need to take a coronavirus vaccine to achieve “true herd immunity,” he said, which could happen by May 2021. But he expressed concerns about people refusing to take a vaccine.
“I’m very, very concerned about the hesitancy [to receive a vaccine] as it exists, and I think it’s very unfortunate because this has been exacerbated by the political context under which we have worked very hard,” he said on ABC’s This Week.
Slaoui said he felt comfortable with the safety of the vaccines and pledged to make sure the data is transparent. While the vaccine is under FDA review, the CDC is issuing guidance to states about which groups should be first to get it, and the states are determining how to distribute the vaccine at the local level. Health care workers and vulnerable groups who face the highest risks for contracting severe COVID-19 will receive a vaccine first.
“We will have already identified with each state and department of health where they want the vaccines to be located,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Slaoui also repeated concerns from recent weeks, saying he’s worried about “anything that could derail the process.” He confirmed on Sunday that he hasn’t yet had contact with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
“I hope there is no disruption in any way,” he said. “I have been informed that I should not be saying anything that is confidential to anybody, including anybody who is not part of the [Trump] administration.”