Your Life Will Get "Back to Normal" by This Month, White House Says
The introduction of a COVID vaccine may help things return to normal in the coming months.
As the long year is nearing its end, everyone is itching for life to go back to the way it was before the coronavirus pandemic—especially now that a vaccine seems to be just around the corner. Fortunately, experts are already predicting when normalcy will return, and it might be sooner than you expect. According to a top White House official, your life may actually go "back to normal" by April or May. Read on for why this could be the end of the COVID pandemic, and for more on the ongoing fight against the virus, Almost All COVID Transmission Is Happening in These 5 Places, Doctor Says.
The United States is just a moment away from a coronavirus vaccine, as two possible candidates—Moderna and Pfizer—are currently being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moncef Slaoui, the White House's chief adviser for Operation Warp Speed, told CBS that he expects the vaccine distribution process to start this month, which will result in a "light at the end of the tunnel" by April or May.
"I think we may start to see some impact on the most susceptible people probably in the months of January and February," Slaoui said during a Dec. 6 Face the Nation interview. "But on a population basis, for our lives to start getting back to normal, we're talking about April or May. Therefore, it's absolutely vital that everybody take comfort in the fact that we have light at the end of the tunnel, and find the energy in that to continue to wear our masks, distance, wash our hands, pay attention to what we're doing to make sure we're there by the spring to benefit from the vaccine."
Both Moderna and Pfizer are expected to provide around 40 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020, which will provide 20 million Americans with the two doses that are required. However, as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee recommended on Dec. 1, this first batch will most likely be given to health care personnel and those in long-term care facilities.
"The first vaccine shipment will happen on the day after the vaccine is approved," Slaoui noted. "That's how we planned it. If the vaccine is approved on the 10th or the 11th, the minute it's approved, the shipments will start."
And while some health professionals are less optimistic about this speedy timeline, there are other notable experts who have offered similar predictions to Slaoui's. On Nov. 30, Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the general public should be able to get the vaccine by April, which means normality could fall within Slaoui's timeline. And John Bell, an Oxford University medicine professor, told the BBC on Nov. 9 that he has "some confidence" that life will return back to normal by spring.
While a vaccine rollout plan has yet to be finalized, many experts have broken down how they expect the distribution to occur before April, when it's expected to be given to the general public. Keep reading for that timeline, and for more on staying healthy in the meantime, Here's How Likely You Are to Catch COVID in the Next Month, Expert Says.
According to CNN, an Operation Warp Speed document obtained by the organization says that the first shipments of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine will be delivered at the latest on Dec. 15, allowing a four-day window after the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meets on Dec. 10. And Moderna's is expected to follow, distributing on Dec. 22. Most experts expect—and the CDC recommends—that the only people being vaccinated in December will be health care workers. And for more on the vaccine, You Won't Be Able to Get the Pfizer COVID Vaccine in These 2 Places.
Long-term care facilities are also expected to be part of the first round of vaccinations, which is expected to carry on from mid-December into January. Slaoui said that residents and workers at long-term care facilities are likely to receive their first round of vaccinations by mid-January, according to The New York Times. And for more coronavirus news, If You Have This Common Condition, You Might Be Safe From COVID.
By the end of February, Slaoui said he expects to have 100 million people vaccinated, as reported by CNBC. In February, vaccines will most likely start getting distributed to the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. Slaoui says this will end up protecting a "significant portion" of the most at-risk Americans. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
March's timeline is a bit fuzzier, as some experts expect this to be the month in which all the most at-risk Americans finish getting their vaccines. However, other experts, like U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, say that the general public may start to get vaccinated as early as March. And for more you should know before then, The COVID Vaccine May Not Protect You From This One Thing, Experts Warn.