Dr. Vivek Murthy, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, said a “more realistic” timeline for the coronavirus vaccine’s availability to the majority of the U.S. population is “closer to midsummer or early fall” during a Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
NBC anchor Chuck Todd told Murthy that Biden advisors have warned that the Trump administration’s plans for a quick vaccine rollout could be “too optimistic.” Those plans called for 100 million Americans to be vaccinated by the end of February or at least the end of the first quarter of 2021, and anyone who wants a vaccine to be able to receive one by the end of the second quarter.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has expressed hope that “herd immunity,” when 70 to 80% of Americans are vaccinated, could be achieved by midyear and a possible return to some sense of normalcy by “late summer or early fall.”
“Dr. Murthy, are you one of the Biden officials that are concerned by the vaccine timeline by the Trump Administration?” Todd asked.
“When it comes to the vaccine timeline, we all want the vaccine to be delivered quickly and fairly as possible. You can be sure that every day and night myself and others on the Biden team are working toward that end but we also want to be realistic about the timeline,” Murthy responded. “I think that if everything goes well, that we may see a circumstance whereby late spring, you know, people who are in lower-risk categories can get this vaccine, but that would really require everything to go exactly on schedule.”
“I think it’s more realistic to assume that it may be closer to midsummer or early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population,” he continued. “So we want to be optimistic but we want to be cautious as well.”
Murthy called a Biden goal of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days “doable” with the right execution. (RELATED: Mitt Romney: Instead Of Taking ‘Victory Lap’ On Vaccine, Trump Is Pushing ‘Nutty And Loopy’ Conspiracy Theories)
“This will be the most aggressive and ambitious vaccination campaign we’ve attempted in this country’s history,” he said.