After debate arouse whether America will see a Coronavirus vaccine anytime soon, the country’s most well known infectious disease specialist and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, entered the conversation with optimistic news.
The discussion over a potential vaccine’s timeline intensified Wednesday when CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told lawmakers during a Congressional testimony on capitol hill that Americans may have to wait another year before they can get vaccinated.
“I think there will be vaccine that will initially be available some time between November and December, but very limited supply, and it will have to be prioritized,” Redfield told lawmakers. “If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
However, after the President suggested Redfield “made a mistake” with his prediction later that afternoon, the CDC released a statement somewhat backtracking on what Redfield said during the testimony.
“In today’s hearing, Dr. Redfield was answering a question he thought was in regard to the time period in which all Americans would have completed their Covid vaccination, and his estimate was by the second or third quarter of 2021,” the statement read. “He was not referring to the time period when Covid-19 vaccine doses would be made available to all Americans.”
When asked whether Trump or Redfield were correct in their assertions, Facui said, to an extent, both were.
“The president was saying is that it is entirely conceivable that we will have an answer by October. My projection is that it would likely be November or December,” Fauci said about a COVID-19 vaccine. “Let’s say it is November, you could start in December, and you could start giving individuals who are in the high-risk (category), as well as health care workers, vaccines already starting in December into January, February. So, many of the people who actually would need the vaccine the most, the more vulnerable, could already be getting them in the beginning of the year.”
With a disease that disproportionately kills a small subgroup of Americans – the sick and elderly – while largely leaving the young and healthy with bad flu symptoms, properly allocated vaccine distributions could go a long way in cutting down virus deaths.
Unfortunately, if we focus on vaccinating the most at-risk Americans, many will have to wait in line.
“If you want to ask the question, what about getting everybody vaccinated so that we can say vaccines have now had a significant impact on how we are able to act in the sense of going back to some degree of normality — that very likely would be in the first half to the third quarter of 2021,” Fauci said.
Fauci’s timeline is shorter than Redfield, but much longer that Trump’s, leaving some room for optimism.
The federal government is hoping to distribute hundreds of millions of doses within the first few months of vaccine availability.
However, as conspiracy theories circulate, and prominent political characters such as Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris telling voters she would not trust a vaccine released during Trump’s presidency, almost half of all Americans are now telling pollsters they will not take the vaccine.
According to Pew Research, 49% of Americans would not get vaccinated, up from 27% in May. Though Republicans are more anti-vaxx than Democrats, with 56% refusing to get vaccinated compared to 42% of Democrats, both parties seem unwilling to accept the record speed medicine.
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