Washington | President Donald Trump’s administration plans to have vaccinated 100 million people in the United States by the end of February with two vaccines, or about 40% of adults, according to a senior official on Wednesday.
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As of December, 40 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will vaccinate 20 million people, since each vaccine is done in two doses spaced three or four weeks apart, respectively, according to Moncef Slaoui, senior official of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, during a press call.
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“By the end of February, we will have potentially vaccinated 100 million people, which is roughly the size of the population at risk, the elderly, healthcare professionals,” he said.
This will be “enough” to vaccinate the three million nursing home residents, said the former pharmaceutical executive recruited by the Trump administration in the spring.
The rest would be enough to immunize the vast majority of healthcare professionals, if states and territories decide to prioritize them, as an expert advisory committee of health authorities recommended on Tuesday.
In January, 30 million people can be vaccinated, if the rate of production of the doses of the two vaccines is confirmed, and 50 million in February, for a total of 100 million.
This figure does not include two other potential vaccines, by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca / Oxford, whose clinical trials should produce results “between the very end of December and mid-January”, according to Moncef Slaoui, which would add doses potentially as early as February, if the Medicines Agency (FDA) gave them the green light.
Mr Slaoui suggested that the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine could be evaluated on the sole basis of the large clinical trial carried out in the United States on 15,000 volunteers, without including data from trials carried out in the United Kingdom and Brazil, whose results were marred by a dosage problem.
While the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was cleared in the UK on Wednesday, the US procedure is slower and more public. The FDA will not give its clearance until after its public advisory committee meeting on December 10. For Moderna, this same committee will meet on December 17th.
Logistics are in place to distribute the vaccines immediately.
“When an emergency authorization is given, the distribution to the Americans will be immediate within 24 hours, it is our goal,” said General Gus Perna, director of operations, counting at this stage on December 15 for Pfizer.