Dr. Fauci Says This Is How Soon COVID Vaccinations Will Begin

The top health official says doses should start being administered before 2021.

After months of tireless research and ongoing trials around the globe, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna made headlines in early November when both companies announced their COVID vaccines have had a more than 90 percent success rate in late-stage clinical trials. Now, people around the world are anxiously awaiting the next bit of news that could clue them in on when they can get inoculated themselves. But according to a recent interview, Anthony Fauci, MD, says that the process could begin very soon, with COVID vaccinations rolling out for some before the end of 2020. 

During an on-air appearance on NPR's Morning Edition, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director described to host Rachel Martin how—and how quickly—the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will play out. Read on to see what the nation's top infectious disease doc had to say, and for more on the vaccine, check out You Need to Quit This Bad Habit Before Getting a COVID Vaccine, Study Says.

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The first doses are coming "literally, next month," Fauci says.

Hand holds Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine glass bottle

When asked where Fauci believed the vaccine rollout process currently stood, he explained that things were well in motion as both companies await government approval. "The timeline of getting the doses into the vials and available for vaccination are going to be a graded process. It's not going to happen all at once," he explained. "At best, what we will see is that some people—generally the highest priority that's determined by an advisory committee and ultimately the CDC—will likely be some getting vaccinated towards the end of December."

After Martin asked whether he meant weeks from now, Fauci clarified: "This December—literally, next month, we hope that we'll be getting vaccine into people." And for more on Fauci's vaccination projections, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Many People Need to Get Vaccinated to Stop COVID.

The first to be vaccinated will be determined by the CDC.

Nurse gives flu vaccine to senior adult patient at a local pharmacy, clinic, or doctor's office.

Many have wondered who will get priority on vaccinations, and Fauci explained that health care workers, childcare givers, and teachers would likely be granted first access, as well as a few other key demographics to consider amid a pandemic. "The recommendation of who that will be will be finalized by the CDC. Likely, [it] will be health care workers, as well as people who are at high risk for serious disease," he said.

"It will be a graded list. It will be a list in which you go from people who are either at the highest risk or are important to society," he explained. "And then as you go down the list, it gets to people who are less at risk for serious disease." And for more up-to-date COVID news, sign up for our daily newsletter.

And the last will be 20-somethings who are healthy.

A young woman wearing a face mask sitting on a medical table as a doctor prepares to give her a vaccination.

If you're only at the quarter-life mark and don't have any comorbidities, your vaccination will have to wait, Fauci says. "The 25- [or] 30-year-old person with no underlying conditions who's otherwise healthy—that likely will be the person towards the end," he noted. And for more on how officials are adapting to the pandemic, check out The CDC Just Quietly Removed Its Most Controversial Guidelines.

Most people will be vaccinated by mid-2021.

Coronavirus vaccine for immunity

After the most vulnerable and exposed in the population are covered, getting the vast majority of healthy people inoculated won't be as long a process as one might expect, Fauci said.

"So what the projection is going to be—and remember, these are not guaranteed, but it looks pretty good for this—that the first several months of 2021 will be going through the priority group," he explained. "By the time you get to, let's say, the end of April, the beginning of May, June, July, [and] as we get into the second quarter, it'd be much more likely that you'll have 'the general population'… Not on the priority list, able to get vaccinated." And for subtle signs you could be sick, check out These 4 Easy-To-Miss Symptoms Could Mean You Have COVID, Experts Say.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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