September 1, 2020 -- Anthony Fauci, MD, says a coronavirus vaccine might be ready by the end of this year, but he warned that availability will not be widespread at first.

Speaking on WTOP’s “Colors: A Dialogue on Race in American” podcast, Fauci said the development and distribution of vaccines is crucial to taming the pandemic.

"If we continue to have uncontrolled infections, it's very difficult to make a projection, but you could do multiple times of what is going on right now,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force.

Fauci said that Phase III clinical trials are under way for several vaccines, and “by the end of this calendar year and into 2021, we should know if we do indeed have a safe and effective vaccine."

"Theoretically, it could start happening towards the end of this year with limited numbers of doses,” he said. “And as you get into 2021, you could start talking in tens of millions.”

Drug companies will be making advance purchases and developing the means for large-scale production, he said. By the middle of 2021, Fauci said, hundreds of millions of doses might be available and by the end of 2021, billions of doses.

“So it's not going to be, everybody's going to have the availability of a vaccine in the beginning of 2021, but it will incrementally increase, hopefully rapidly,” he said.

“Who's going to get it first?” he asked. “That's an important question. That's the reason why the standard way is to get independent advisory committees."