This Is When the Average Person Will Finally Get the COVID Vaccine

Access to a steady supply of doses could keep the public waiting for a few months.

After the initial rollout of COVID vaccines in the U.S. fell short of expectations, President Joe Biden set an ambitious goal to administer at least 100 million doses of the vaccine within his first 100 days in office. With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also expanding its recommendations on who should get access to shots, the process is expected to speed up. Now, a timeline is forming that makes it easier to predict how inoculations will go in the months to come, leading experts to forecast when they believe the average healthy American will finally have access to the COVID vaccine. Read on to see when you may finally get an appointment, and for more vaccine news, check out Moderna's Chief Medical Officer Just Gave This Upsetting Update.

Most Americans will be waiting months for the vaccine.

woman in surgical mask getting covid vaccine from medical professional in blue scrubs and surgical mask

As one highly contagious variant begins to spread across the U.S. (and with another looming), health officials are anxious to see shots roll out as quickly as possible to help slow the spread of the virus. But even if about a million doses are administered per day, the general public will still likely be waiting a few more months for their injections. "We're looking at probably middle of the summer, end of the summer before the average, healthy, young American has access to vaccination," Celine Gounder, MD, a former member of the COVID-19 transition advisory board for Biden, told CNN during an interview on Sunday, Jan. 24. And for more updates from the current administration, check out The White House Just Reinstated This Major COVID Restriction.

Missing data is making forecasting difficult.


Still, many officials report that there are key pieces of data that are currently unknown, making it difficult to better plan the rollout of vaccines and make it more efficient. During an interview with Fox News Sunday on Jan. 24, newly appointed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said: "I can't tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can't tell it to you then I can't tell it to the governors and I can't tell it to the state health officials."

She explained that many of the logistical woes currently plaguing the rollout are the result of such missing data. "If they don't know how much vaccine they're getting, not just this week but next week and the week after, they can't plan," Walensky added. "They can't figure out how many sites to roll out, they can't figure out how many vaccinators that they need, and they can't figure out how many appointments to make for the public." And for updates in regards to the COVID vaccine, check out The FDA Just Changed Its Stance on This COVID Vaccine Precaution.

New variants will continue to develop if the spread isn't slowed down.

Pharmacy giving COVID vaccine

Getting enough of the population vaccinated will help bring hospitalizations and the death rate under control, but there's also another major reason to pick up the pace: mutations. "The virus is basically telling us that it's going to continue to change and we've got to be ready for it," Vivek Murthy, MD, Biden's nominee to become the U.S.'s next surgeon general, said during an interview on ABC News' This Week.

"We've got to number one, do much better genomic surveillance, so we can identify variants when they arise and that means we've got to double down on public health measures like masking and avoiding indoor gatherings," Murthy advised. "So the bottom line is, we're in a race against these variants, the virus is going to change and it's up to us to adapt and to make sure that we're staying ahead." And for more on where the U.K. strain is thus far, check out The U.K. COVID Strain Is Now in These 20 States.

Officials are optimistic about the goals being met.

pfizer vaccine against Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections on the production line

Despite the many challenges we can expect in the coming months, top health officials such as Anthony Fauci, MD, expressed optimism that the current ambitious vaccination goals can still be met—and exceeded. "It is really a floor and not a ceiling," Fauci said during a Jan. 24 interview on CBS News's Face the Nation of the 100 million doses in 100 days goal. He explained that "it is going to be a challenge," but added: "I think it was a reasonable goal that was set. We always want to do better than the goal that you've set."

Walensky also pointed out that other vaccines from companies such as Johnson & Johnson are weeks away from approval and could help alleviate the strain on short supplies currently being felt. "We're really hoping that after that first 100 days we'll have much more production, not just for these two vaccines, but we are hopeful that we'll have another one from Johnson & Johnson in the weeks ahead and perhaps even a fourth coming down the pipeline," she told Fox News Sunday. And for more on what you can expect with that vaccine, check out These Are the Side Effects of the New Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

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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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