You Should Be Able to Get a COVID Vaccine by This Month, Dr. Fauci Says
The health expert says this is when the vaccine should be available to the general public.
The race to a COVID vaccine has almost come to an end after nearly a year of the pandemic. However, just because a vaccine is in sight doesn't mean you're necessarily going to get it soon. Health experts have made it clear that the first doses of the vaccine will most likely go to high-priority individuals, including health care workers and those with increased risks. But in a new interview, Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has narrowed it down to the month that the general public can expect to get the vaccine in the U.S. According to Fauci, you should be able to get the COVID vaccine by April of next year. Keep reading for further details about this timeline, and for more on the vaccine, Dr. Fauci Says You Should Expect These COVID Vaccine Side Effects.
"By the time we get to April, we would likely have taken care of all the high priority and then the general population—the normal, healthy young man or woman, 30 years old that has no underlying conditions—can walk into a CVS or to a Walgreens and get vaccinated," Fauci told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Nov. 30 interview.
According to Fauci, a COVID vaccine will most likely start to be distributed in December—and that's when the first group of high-priority persons will be getting vaccinated. He said that this will be followed by "tiers" of other high-priority people, which will most likely happen tier by tier throughout January, February, and March.
Currently, two companies have sent their vaccines in for an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moderna requested an EUA on Nov. 30 and Pfizer requested one on Nov. 20.
While Fauci expects the general public to get the vaccine by April, he doesn't yet know the exact rollout plan. That's because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting on Dec. 1 to determine exactly who will be the first to get the COVID vaccine once it's approved. The committee will vote on recommendations for who to vaccinate and when, and then CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD, will get the final decision on what to implement, according to The New York Times.
Though we won't know the exact rollout until after the CDC meeting, there have already been conversations about who is likely to get the vaccine first. The CDC committee's early deliberations, which were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on Nov. 27, have already suggested four key groups who may be the earliest vaccine recipients. For the groups that could fall into what the CDC is labeling "Phase 1a," read on. And for more on the vaccine rollout, This Is When We'll Know If the COVID Vaccine Is Safe for Kids, Fauci Says.
Health care personnel
Most experts agree that health care personnel should be the first group vaccinated. After all, they are working directly with COVID-infected people. As of Nov. 30, the CDC reports that there have been more than 243,800 coronavirus cases among health care workers, which includes 858 deaths. And for more on how the vaccine will be distributed, If You're This Age, You May Be Last to Get the COVID Vaccine, Fauci Says.
Other essential workers
There are around 87 million people that the CDC considers to be other essential workers, and this includes police officers, firefighters, teachers, grocery store employees, and transportation workers. Their ability to "remain healthy helps protect the health of others and/or minimiz[es] disruption to society and the economy," the CDC's MMWR report reads. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Adults with high-risk medical conditions
According to the CDC, this group includes more than 100 million Americans. Their need to be vaccinated as soon as possible is clear, as the CDC reports that "nearly 90 percent of persons with COVID-19-associated hospitalizations have at least one high-risk condition." And for steps to take now, You Need to Quit This Bad Habit Before Getting a COVID Vaccine, Study Says.
Adults over the age of 65 (including residents of long-term care facilities)
Nearly 53 million older Americans fall into the last group the CDC thinks should have priority for the COVID vaccine. According to the committee's early report, this vaccination tier "will require focused outreach to vaccinate persons in this group who have no or limited access to health care or experience inequities in social determinants of health." And for more on the future of the pandemic, The Vaccine Will Only Keep You Safe From COVID for This Long, Fauci Says.