Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that the general American public will likely begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by early spring – contradicting projections made by President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for US Surgeon General that the shot wouldn’t be available until mid-summer or early fall.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Health and Infectious Diseases, conceded that it would however take several months before the vast majority of the country’s population is immunized.
‘I think people are getting a little confused about when they can expect [the vaccine]. If you start vaccinating parts of the general public in April, by the time you get to the end of August … that’s when we should see an overwhelming majority,’ Fauci told the Daily Beast.
‘That’s if you vaccinate very aggressively in May, June and July,’ he added.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Health and Infectious Diseases, said Monday that the general American public will likely begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by early spring
Fauci’s comments contradicted claims made by President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, that the shot wouldn’t be available until mid-summer or early fall
Fauci’s comments sought to clarify a statement made by Surgeon General nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy on Sunday, who said that ‘it may be closer to mid-summer or early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population.
Issued during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Murthy’s comments left the impression that Biden’s COVID-19 task force, on which he serves, was attempting to wind back expectations about the vaccine’s availability.
Fauci told the Daily Beast that while vaccine distribution will likely begin in the spring, the main bulk of the country will likely have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.
‘By that time we should be getting back to some degree of normalcy,’ he told the outlet.
Murthy yesterday, meanwhile, had said that such a time line was not practical.
‘I think when it comes to the vaccine timeline, we all want the vaccine to be delivered as quickly, as fairly as possible, and you can be sure that every day and night, myself and others on the Biden team are working toward that,’ Murthy told NBC News.
‘But we also want to be realistic about the timeline’.
He added that it was possible that the vaccine – which is currently being given to high-risk individuals including frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents – could be available in the spring to those at lower risk of contracting COVID-19.
However, for this to happen ‘that would really require everything to go exactly on schedule,’ Murthy said.
‘I think it’s more realistic to assume that it may be closer to mid-summer, early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population.’
President-elect Joe Biden received the first dose of his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware on Monday. At 78, he is considered high-risk because of his age
Monday marked the second week of the Pfizer vaccine roll-out across the country, and the first round of Moderna’s vaccine shipments.
Millions of frontline healthcare workers, including those working in long-term care facilities, have been lined up to receive the first doses.
The second round will be geared towards other frontline essential workers and Americans over the age of 75. Those recipients will be vaccinated over the next several weeks, into the early stages of 2021.
Vice President Mike Pence told the nation’s governors in a call Monday that the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed is on course to oversee 11 million coronavirus vaccine doses this week alone, with another 4 million scheduled for next week.
Fauci is expected to receive Moderna vaccine during a televised event on Tuesday alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and NIH Health Director Francis Collins. It was approved by the FDA for emergency use on Friday night.
Fauci, who turns 80 on Thursday, said in a TV appearance on Friday morning that he was ‘ready to go’ and eager to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
President-elect Joe Biden, meanwhile, received the first dose of his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware on Monday.
‘There is nothing to worry about,’ he said as he reassured the public the vaccine was safe.
The 78-year-old thanked the medical staff and urged Americans to follow coronavirus restrictions during the upcoming holiday period, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
Fauci is expected to receive Moderna vaccine during a televised event on Tuesday alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and NIH Health Director Francis Collins
Biden, wearing a dark long-sleeved turtleneck, rolled up his left sleeve to receive the Pfizer vaccine. He wore a black cloth face mask over a white N95 mask during his visit.
‘I’m ready,’ he told the nurse administrating the shot.
‘You just go ahead any time you’re ready,’ he told her after she applied alcohol to his bicep.
Biden had no visible reaction as he received the shot, which was dispensed by Tabe Mase, Nurse Practitioner and Head of Employee Health Services at ChristianaCare Hospital in Newark, Del.
He thanked Mase and elbow bumped her afterward. He also received his vaccine card and will need a second shot within 21 days.
Dr. Jill Biden, received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine – which requires two shots – earlier Monday, the office of the president-elect said without providing an explanation about why she did not receive a dose with her husband.
She was present, standing by the president-elect, as he received his shot. He grasped her hand before it was administered.
Afterward, he joked his wife ‘loves’ shots.
‘I’m looking forward to the second shot, so is Jill. She’s had her shot earlier today. She loves shots, I know,’ he said as Jill Biden laughed.
In brief remarks after receiving his dosage, Biden credited Trump’s administration with getting the Pfizer vaccine distributed. The U.S. added a second COVID-19 vaccine to its arsenal on Friday when the FDA approved Moderna’s for emergency use.
‘One of the things is I think the administration deserves some credit getting this off the ground with Operation Warp Speed,’ he said, giving kudos to his predecessor in the White House.
He said he received his shot publicly so people would know there is nothing to worry about in receiving it.
‘I also think that it’s worth saying that this is great hope. I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine,’ he said.
Biden had no visible reaction as he received the shot, which was dispensed by Tabe Mase, Nurse Practitioner and Head of Employee Health Services at ChristianaCare Hospital in Newark, Del. He thanked Mase and elbow bumped her afterward
The country is not out of the woods yet, Biden noted. He has previously warned of a ‘dark winter’ as the country battles the pandemic. Numbers are on the rise in the United States with more than 3,000 people dying a day from COVID.
‘We’re still in the thick of this,’ Biden said. ‘It’s one thing to have the vaccine show up at a hospital. It’s another thing to get the vaccine from that vial into a needle, into an arm. And there are millions of people out there that are going to need this. Front line workers first. But I just want to thank everyone for all that they’ve done. You’re some real heroes,’ he said.
The president-elect followed the lead of Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers in getting the shot publicly in order to show it’s safe.
Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, told reporters last week that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff will be getting vaccinated the week after the Bidens, as healthcare advisers urged Biden and Harris to stagger their doses in case of unexpected side effects or a rare allergic reaction.
In a statement Thursday, Pelosi said: ‘We must all continue to embrace testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing and social distancing as the vaccine is being distributed. It is imperative that we ensure that the vaccine will be free and delivered in a fair, equitable manner to as many Americans as soon as possible and that we accelerate its manufacture, including by invoking the Defense Production Act.’
McConnell said that as a polio survivor, he is especially aware of the ‘extraordinary promise of hope’ vaccines offer.
He said he’ll continue to wear a mask and follow other health guidelines.