A top coronavirus adviser to President-elect Joe Biden warned Americans yesterday not to have any Christmas parties and they face a COVID-19 siege for weeks to come despite the latest moves toward U.S. government approval of a vaccine.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of Biden’s coronavirus advisory board, told the next three to six weeks at minimum are COVID weeks. Oterholm stressed that it would be several months before USA sees widespread availability of vaccines, the first of which cleared a key U.S. regulatory hurdle yesterday.
FDA approval is expected within days, paving the way for a mass inoculation campaign unparalleled in U.S. history to be launched as early as next week. The advisory panel is due to review a second vaccine from Moderna Inc next week. Preparations for the vaccine rollout were in full swing.
The Pfizer vaccines require storage in ulta-cold freezer units and must be prepared for injection and given quickly once thawed, posing special challenges to medical authorities. Nevertheless, Osterholm said sizeable quantities of vaccines would not be available to the public at large before March or April. Healthcare workers and nursing home residents are likely to be designated as first in line for the shots.