Covid vaccine will ‘probably’ be rolled out in second week of December, says CDC director

James Crump
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield speaking on Fox News on Tuesday 24 November ((Fox News))
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield speaking on Fox News on Tuesday 24 November ((Fox News))

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield has said that a Covid-19 vaccine could start being rolled out across the US next month.

During an interview on Fox News’ The Daily Briefing on Tuesday evening, Mr Redfield was asked by host Dana Perino about the development of potential coronavirus vaccines.

“I think it's really important. First, it's, you know, exceptional that we have these vaccines. And it's very exciting.

“And, again, it just reinforces why I want people to be vigilant because we're turning the corner now,” Mr Redfield told the host.

“You don't want to be the last group to end up getting Covid, because the vaccine is going to begin to be rolled out probably by the end of the second week of December,” the CDC director added.

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have all announced in recent weeks that their vaccine candidates had proved effective in preventing infection of Covid-19, though studies on the jabs have not yet been peer-reviewed.

Pfizer, which developed its vaccine with German company BioNTech, applied for emergency approval for its candidate from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, while Moderna is expected to do the same by the end of the month.

An advisory committee for the FDA will meet on 10 December to discuss an emergency use authorisation for the Pfizer vaccine.

When asked by Ms Perino who would get the vaccine first, Mr Redfield said that a hierarchy will be determined based on risk factors.

“Initially, in a hierarchical way, nursing home residents and then some combination of health care providers and individuals at high risk for a poor outcome.

“And those decisions are in the process of being finalised as we speak,” Mr Redfield said.

States will have the final say on how vaccines are distributed among their populations, and several have already indicated that frontline workers will be the first vaccinated.

Mr Redfield’s comments came just two days after Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to the White House's Covid-19 vaccine development team Operation Warp Speed, said that US citizens could start receiving vaccinations just 48 hours after one is approved for use.

“We are ready to start shipping vaccines within 24 hours from approval,” Mr Slaoui told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week on Sunday.

“We'll have the vaccines there the next day after approval, and hopefully people will start to be immunised, I would say within 48 hours from the approval,” he added.

Coronavirus cases have dramatically risen across the US over the last month, causing the CDC to urge Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving to help prevent further spread of the virus.

Dr Anthonny Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease experts, recently warned that 43,000 more people could die from the virus by Christmas, as millions of Americans are planning on travelling across the country for the holiday this week.

According to a tracking project by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 12.5 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 259,962.

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