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White House COVID Czar: All Americans Vaccinated By Late June; U.K. Strain Not More Dangerous

White House COVID Czar: All Americans Vaccinated By Late June; U.K. Strain Not More Dangerous

 

White House coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir says all Americans will be inoculated against the COVID-19 virus by late June and declared that the two vaccines now being distributed in the U.S. will be effective against a new strain that has emerged in Britain.

“We’re clearly on schedule, 20 million vaccinations distributed by the first week in January, we expect another 30 million in January, another 50 million in February,” Giroir said on Fox News Sunday.“And with the current contracts, even with just the vaccines we have right now, we still expect that any American who wants a vaccine can be vaccinated by June. That’s really very exciting. That means a couple hundred million people being able to be vaccinated by that time,” he added.

In the last few weeks, a new strain of the virus emerged in the United Kingdom that is said to be 70% more contagious. Over the weekend the mutant strain was detected in France, Ireland and Sweden, NBC News reported. But Giroir said, “We have no evidence that suggests, nor do we believe, that…the vaccine would not be effective. In other words, we do believe the vaccine will be effective against this variant.”

Pfizer’s vaccine, the first in the U.S., was approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) on Dec. 11. The FDA on Dec. 18 also approved Moderna’s EUA request. Both are already being distributed.

Moderna said its data showed their vaccine was 95% effective in its late-stage clinical trial, the same as Pfizer’s. The Moderna vaccine was developed in conjunction with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. A key advantage of Moderna’s vaccine is that it does not need sub-zero storage like Pfizer’s, which needs to be stored at -94 degrees.

A third vaccine is also in the pipeline. AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Nov. 23 said their jointly created COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be up to 90% effective and the makers claims will be easier to distribute. UK officials said Sunday that the vaccine will be approved within days.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic will get worse and told Americans to expect a post-holiday season “surge.”

“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge or as I’ve described it, a surge upon a surge,” Fauci told CNN anchor Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

Asked by Bash if he thinks the “worst is still yet to come,” Fauci said, “I do.”

“If you look at the slope, the incline of cases we’ve experienced as we’ve got into the late fall and soon-to-be early winter, it really is quite troubling,” said Fauci, an immunologist who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Still, Fauci said vaccines to prevent the virus should reach most Americans by the end of April, even though the goal of 20 million doses for December willnot be reached. “I believe we’ll catch up with the projection that by the time we get to April, mid-late April, you’ll have taken the high-priority people and already accounted for them, and then anyone can get vaccinated,” Fauci said.


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