Most Americans will likely get a COVID-19 vaccine, survey finds
The Food and Drug Administration’s staff said in a report the experimental vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, confirming earlier results released by the company.
The report was posted online ahead of a meeting Thursday of agency advisers who will vote whether to recommend authorization before a final FDA decision. The agency doesn’t have to follow the advice of the independent vaccine experts, though it often agrees with its advisory panels. Last week, the FDA authorized Pfizer’s similar vaccine.
The number of dead in the U.S. passed 300,000 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with about 2,400 people now dying per day on average. The toll is expected to grow in the coming weeks, fueled by travel over Christmas and New Year’s, family gatherings and lax adherence to mask-wearing and other precautions.
The first 3 million shots are being strictly rationed to frontline health workers and nursing home patients, with hundreds of millions more shots needed over the coming months to protect most Americans.
Vice President Mike Pence will receive the newly released coronavirus vaccine by the end of this week. Pence said Tuesday he looks forward to receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 and will do so without hesitation. The vice president made the remarks while speaking at a Catalent Biologics plant in his home state of Indiana.
“We have come to the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic,” Pence said.
Moderna COVID vaccine is shown to be safe, will likely be approved
Pence is also stressing the need for Americans to stay focused on limiting the spread of the virus before a vaccine is in widespread use. He said cases and hospitalizations are continuing to rise in many parts of the country. “It’s been a marathon this year. It’s been a marathon of heartbreak for many American families,” he said.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
“For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can.” He added he’d like to see Biden “fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January.”
Dr. Fauci thinks U.S. will have 'herd immunity' by late Spring or early Summer
Fauci said while Trump probably still has antibodies to the virus that will protect him for at least several months, he should get the vaccine as well to be “doubly sure.” Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early October.
Also Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged elected officials to “step up” and encourage wary Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Republican leader said that as a childhood polio survivor, he’s a “huge supporter” of being vaccinated.
“Whenever my turn comes, I’m going to be anxious to take the vaccine and do my part to reassure those who are doubtful about this,” McConnell said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. “We really need to get the country vaccinated,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do for yourself, for your family and for the country.”