Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief of Operation Warp Speed, the initiative which is managing the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine development efforts, predicted Sunday that life could return to normal around May as Americans begin receiving vaccinations against the coronavirus.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper how many Americans would need to be vaccinated for life to return to normal and when that might happen, Slaoui said that about 70 percent of the U.S. population would have to be immunized “for true herd immunity.”
“That is likely to happen in the month of May or something like that, based on our plans,” Slaoui said about a return to normalcy. “I really hope and look forward to seeing that the level of negative perception of the vaccine decreases and people’s acceptance increases. That is going to be critical to help us. Most people need to be immunized before we can go back to a normal life.”
Drugmaker Pfizer on Friday filed a request with the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine. The request comes after a Phase 3 clinical study showed Pfizer’s vaccine to be 95 percent effective in preventing the disease associated with the coronavirus.
Slaoui said the administration expects to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours of their approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
On December 11 or 12, “hopefully, the first people will be immunized across the United States, across all states in all the areas where the state departments of health will have told us where to deliver the vaccines,” Slaoui said.
Earlier this month, the White House projected that a vaccine for the coronavirus will be distributed to 20 million people by the end of December.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are rising across the country, with about a million Americans testing positive for the virus over the past week and more than 1,000 hospitals “critically” short on staff.
More than 255,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 12 million people have tested positive across the country. More than 1.2 million have died worldwide.