Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that every American who wants a coronavirus vaccine will be able to get one by the second quarter of 2021.
“My expectation is that next year we return to normalcy in our lives thanks to the incredible work of Operation Warp Speed and these vaccines, as well as the therapeutics,” Azar said during an interview with Axios.
The distribution of effective coronavirus vaccines is set to begin this month as cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus have skyrocketed across the country. Though vaccines are likely the best chance for this country to return to life before the pandemic, Azar’s timeline will require a lot to go right regarding the vaccines’ effectiveness, distribution and Americans’ willingness to take it, Axios reports.
Though Pfizer and Moderna have submitted their vaccines to the FDA for emergency use authorization, it has yet to be granted. Once they are, hundreds of millions of doses will need to be quickly distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, and pharmacies in all 50 states. (RELATED: Azar Knocks Biden’s Claim Of Lack Of Vaccine Distribution Plan)
Additionally, both vaccines require two separate injections given approximately a month apart, meaning that over 750 million doses would be required to vaccinate every American.
As of Monday, the United States has seen over 14.7 million coronavirus cases, over 100,000 hospitalizations and over 282,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. The U.S. is now averaging over 200,000 daily cases, prompting some areas to reenter temporary shutdowns through the Christmas holiday.
Despite the alarming surge, Azar remains optimistic, saying that it is “my hope” that football stadiums are packed come Fall 2021.
The full interview airs on HBO Monday at 11 p.m.
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