A health care worker injects the syringe of the phase 3 vaccine study into a volunteer at Ankara University’s Ibni Sina Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 27, 2020. This vaccine candidate was developed against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by the US company Pfizer and the German BioNTech company.
Dougkan Keskinkilic | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The entire US population could be vaccinated against Covid-19 by June, and there could be enough doses to immunize the rest of the nearly 8 billion people in the world by early to mid-2022, the Trump administration’s vaccine chief said Tuesday .
“Hopefully by mid-year, I hope most Americans have been vaccinated, which means that current hesitation has been reduced because people have been given more information about the vaccine,” Moncef Slaoui, chief science advisor for Operation Warp Speed, said the Washington Post in a livestream interview.
If vaccinated enough, the US should “have this pandemic under control by the second half of 2021”.
Two companies – Pfizer and Moderna – have now filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval for their coronavirus vaccines, which could get the green light in a few weeks. Slaoui said roughly 40 million doses will be available by the end of the year, which would be enough for 20 million people, as both vaccines require two shots per person.
He said there was “a large number” of cans that need to be made, but it was “a small number compared to the US population and the needs we have,” adding that people are continuing to follow the guidelines should be followed by public health, such as wearing face covering and maintaining a physical distance from others in the meantime.
Starting doses are likely to be reserved for frontline health workers, followed by vulnerable Americans such as the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions who are at higher risk for serious illness. A panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, will vote Tuesday on who to prioritize for vaccination.
“While we’re all very excited that these vaccines are coming out, it will be a while before the entire population is vaccinated,” he said.
Operation Warp Speed works with six pharmaceutical companies to develop, manufacture and distribute their Covid-19 vaccines. In addition to Pfizer and Moderna, the federal government has signed supply contracts with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax for the first doses of their vaccines after approval.
Slaoui said Moderna and Pfizer are expected to deliver between 60 and 70 million doses by January, which would be enough for at least 30 million people since everyone takes two rounds of cans, he said. Other vaccines could be added to this mix after January if FDA clears, and another 30 and 50 million doses from other companies will be added, he said.
“Very quickly we will be taking more than 150 million doses a month in March, April and May,” said Slaoui.
However, it will take many more vaccine doses to vaccinate nearly 8 billion people around the world and achieve what is known as herd immunity.
Each of the six companies in the company’s portfolio can produce between 500 and 1 billion doses by the end of 2021, which could deliver up to 6 billion vaccine doses over the next year.
However, there are other vaccines under development that could help with supply, he said. As of November 12, 48 vaccines were in clinical trials and more than 200 were in development worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
“I find that reassuring, because between this and the other vaccines that are being developed, I would hope that most of the world will be vaccinated by early 2022 or mid-2022,” said Slaoui.
CNBCs Berkeley Lovelace Jr.. contributed to this report