About One-Third Of US Could Be Vaccinated By Spring, Says Trump’s COVID Vaccine Czar

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Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who acts as President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 vaccine czar, said the U.S. should have enough vaccines to immunize 100 million people by the end of February, CNBC reported, citing a briefing attended by reporters.

Slaoui, who leads Trump’s vaccine program Operation Warp Speed, said there would probably be enough vaccines to help protect a “significant portion” of the most at-risk populations, including the elderly, healthcare workers and those with compromised immune systems.

The government is expected to ship 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine within 24 hours of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval and 12.5 million Moderna vaccine doses once those are approved, according to Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operations officer for Operation Warp Speed, at the same briefing.

And there could be even more than that if a vaccine by Johnson & Johnson is authorized by that time. Slaoui said he expects company to release “key late-stage trial data” by January, CNBC reported.

States are currently preparing to distribute vaccines in as little as two weeks, with Moderna and Pfizer requesting emergency FDA clearances for their vaccines, according to CNBC. The reviews are expected to take a few weeks, however. The U.K. recently became the first country to authorize the vaccine from Pfizer for emergency use.

The initial doses are expected to be limited until the manufacturing can catch up, CNBC reported. Priority will go to healthcare workers, followed by the vulnerable citizens like the elderly and the immunocompromised, with young adults and children expected to get it last.

The news of vaccines with success rates as high as 90 percent began coming out within the past month, causing shares for dine-in restaurants to soar, including Brinker International, which operates Chili’s Grill and Bar locations, PYMNTS reported. Meanwhile, shares for pizza chains and delivery companies like Grubhub fell at the same news.

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