The Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine Continues

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Twenty million Americans could get a COVID-19 shot before the end of the year, according to the leading scientist behind the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.

“As soon as April the vaccine will be available to the entire general population,” said President Donald Trump, giving Americans a sign of hope as the country faces a coronavirus surge. 

That timeline is based on success for two leading vaccine candidates, one produced by Pfizer and the other manufactured by Moderna. But it also has to be approved by U.S. Regulators.

“We have, we plan to have enough vaccines doses available to use in the U.S. population to immunize 20 million individuals for the month of December and another 25 to 30 million every month on an ongoing basis from there on,” said Operation Warp Speed Adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui.

On Monday, Pfizer said its vaccine was more than 90% effective. The drugmaker hasn’t released detailed data yet and is still collecting safety information.  

UCSF Infectious Disease Physician Peter Chin-Hong says he is looking at this news with guarded optimism.

“The devil is in the details,” he said.

A lot of those details are still being worked out. Including who gets the vaccine first.

New results from Moderna’s trial are expected in a matter of days.

“It all hinges on the second candidate Moderna can get its data out in time and whether or not it shows a robust and promising response,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden’s team is working on its own vaccination distribution plan.

Members of his team say that plan is running into major road blocks due to president Trump’s refusal to concede and work with the Biden transition team.

Dr. Chin-Hong says it is crucial that a vaccine is approved soon because Americans are in desperate need of hope during this crisis.

“Most people are saying don’t put your eggs in one basket and think that this is the cure all,” he said. “It does give us a symbol and a metaphor that things are looking promising if we can just hunker down and get through the winter.”

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