In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Moncef Slaoui, the head of the federal vaccine initiative Operation Warp Speed, said Moderna’s vaccine would “likely would be approved by Friday.”
On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the two-dose vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency use.
Slaoui repeated his prediction that he hoped 100 million people would be immunized by the first quarter of next year, and said he expected around 14 million vaccine doses to be distributed before the end of 2020.
Slaoui said the US plan for a vaccine works with “a portfolio of products,” and there would “most likely” be no reason for concerns for a shortage of supply in the vaccine in the spring.
Moncef Slaoui, the head scientist of the federal vaccine initiative Operation Warp Speed, said on Sunday Moderna’s vaccine will likely be approved by next week.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Slaoui told host Chris Wallace that with approvals behind vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna, he expected around 40 million vaccine doses to be distributed before the end of 2020.
Slaoui added that “we hope to have immunized 100 million people, which would be the long-term care facility people, the elderly people with comorbidities, the first-line workers, the health care workers” by the first quarter of 2021.
On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the two-dose vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency use. Moderna filed for emergency-use authorization after reporting a 94.5% efficacy rate in its late-stage clinical trial.
The New York Times reported last week that the Trump administration had passed on an opportunity in the summer to secure additional doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, which raised concerns on whether the US will be able to secure enough vaccine supply amid the pharmaceutical company’s commitments with many other countries.
When pressed by Wallace on whether there would be a possibility of a shortage of vaccine supply in the spring, Slaoui answered “most likely, no.”
Slaoui said the US plan for a vaccine works with “a portfolio of products” of multiple vaccines. Among them would be Moderna’s vaccine, which he said would “likely would be approved by Friday, probably, this coming week” and “is able to produce 100 million doses in the first quarter.”
As vaccines are distributed, public health officials including Slaoui have expressed concerns over Americans’ trust in the vaccine as a potential obstacle for achieving widespread immunity.
A November Pew Research Center survey found that despite an increase in general public confidence in the vaccine between September and November, 39% of respondents said they would definitely or probably not get a coronavirus vaccine were it available today.
Some data has shown that part of the public’s skepticism in the vaccine stems from concerns over political interests in the US pandemic response. In one poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation between late August and early September, 62% of adults in the US responded that they are “worried that the political pressure from President Donald Trump’s administration will lead the FDA to rush to approve a coronavirus vaccine without making sure that it is safe and effective.”
“Unfortunately, there is so much politics around in the context of developing these vaccines that there’s been a confusion between how thorough and scientific and factual the work that has been done is, ” Slaoui told Wallace on Sunday. “[And] the perception that people are thinking that we cut corners or anything like that – I can guarantee you that no such things have happened, that we followed the science.”
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