By Mike Murphy
A top official of Operation Warp Speed — the U.S. government’s massive effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine — confidently predicted Monday that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by June.
Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski (Ret.), the director of Operation Warp Speed’s supply, production and distribution, was asked during an interview on MSNBC about his vaccination expectations by June:
It was unclear if he was referring to the first dose of the vaccine or both doses. The COVID-19 vaccination process will take around six weeks, with a month before two vaccinations, and then about two weeks to make sure antibodies have developed.
On Monday, Moderna Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +1.67% said it intended to apply for emergency-use authorization for its vaccination to U.S. and European regulators. If approved, its vaccinations could begin in the U.S. by mid-December. Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +0.60% and BioNTech SE /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX +1.08% are also expected to apply for authorization for their vaccine in the coming days.
Essential workers and those most at risk will get the vaccine first, with mass availability for the general U.S. population not expected until the spring.
To date, more than 13.5 Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus, and more than 268,000 have died. New cases and hospitalizations have spiked in recent weeks, with health officials warning of an even more dire situation likely to develop in December.