White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says findings on the COVID vaccine will be out and may be approved in early December.
According to the World Health Organization, several candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, with some undergoing late-stage tests before getting formal approval.
Findings from COVID vaccine trials are being monitored around the world. Dr. Fauci is optimistic that data on a potential vaccine will be known in a matter of a few weeks.
“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December,” Dr. Fauci said in a BBC interview on Sunday.
“The question is: Once you have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one, how can you get it to the people who need it as quickly as possible?”
He previously expressed confidence in the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process, saying it will not be politically motivated.
Dr. Fauci explained that a coronavirus vaccine that is safe and effective would be released according to a set prioritization, which sets individuals such as health care workers and higher risk ones as the first ones to receive the initial doses. He added that it would be “several months into 2021” before a vaccine becomes truly available.
However, Dr. Fauci noted that developing a vaccine would not replace the need for public health protocols to keep people safe from the virus.
Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, believes that inoculation against the virus could happen before 2020 ends.
“I’m increasingly optimistic, as is government, that we will see a vaccine approved in the next couple of months and that in the first half or first quarter of next year it’ll be possible to start vaccinating those most at risk,” Varadkar, who is a qualified doctor, said on RTE radio.
Going back to normal
Dr. Fauci previously said that day-to-day life in the US would not get back to normal until late 2021.
“If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality prior to Covid, it’s going to be well into 2021, towards the end of 2021,” he noted.
In September, he said he found the US coronavirus data “disturbing.”
“When you have a baseline of infections that are 40,000 per day and you have threats of increased test positivity in certain regions of the country, such as the Dakotas and Montana and places like that. … You don’t want to start off already with a baseline that’s so high,” he noted.
The infectious disease specialist also said in August that the US has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world.
“Yeah, it is quantitatively if you look at it, it is. I mean the numbers don’t lie,” Dr. Fauci said when CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked him whether the US had the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
“Every country has suffered. We, the United States, has suffered … as much or worse than anyone,” Dr. Fauci told CNN and the Harvard School of Public Health. “I mean when you look at the number of infections and the number of deaths, it really is quite concerning.”
Dr. Fauci recalled that the US did not respond to the coronavirus outbreak in a coordinated effort. The country was able to reduce the cases to a plateau of 20,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, which Dr. Fauci said was not a sufficient “baseline” number and allowed the virus to reemerge in some states as they reopened.
“We can do much better, and we can do much better without locking down, and I think that strange binary approach, either you lock down or you let it all fly, there’s some place in the middle when we can open the economy and still avoid this kind of surges that we’re seeing,” Dr. Fauci said.