Nov 11, 2020 - Health

Health officials: COVID-19 vaccine to be broadly available in U.S. by spring

NIAID director Anthony Fauci on NBC's "Nightly News" on Tuesday

A screenshot of NIAID director Anthony Fauci on NBC's "Nightly News" on Tuesday. Photo: NBC

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Tuesday they expect a coronavirus vaccine to be rolled out widely in the U.S. by next spring.

Of note: Fauci said to NBC News the Pfizer vaccine could get FDA emergency approval within weeks. Azar told the network he expects it to be available to Americans in priority categories, like those most at risk and health care workers, by the year's end to early January. Fauci said it could happen by December.

  • Azar believes there should be "enough for all Americans by the end of March to early April to have general vaccination programs."

Why it matters: Pfizer and BioNTech's preliminary analysis suggests their vaccine is 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, offering the best hope yet of curbing the pandemic, as coronavirus cases and related hospitalizations reach record highs.

  • Fauci told CNN Tuesday he believes "the incentive to get vaccinated will be greatly enhanced by the degree of efficacy."
  • "When you hear something is 90 to 95% effective, it makes it much more likely that someone would want to get vaccinated," he added.
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