COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Available To Priority Groups By Mid-December

San Diegans weigh in on COVID-19 vaccine timeline.

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A COVID-19 vaccine will be available to the first group of Americans in three weeks, according to Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the Chief Science Adviser for Operation Warp Speed.

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval, on the 11th or the 12th of December,” said Slaoui.

An FDA vaccine advisory committee is expected to meet Dec. 10 to discuss authorizing the vaccine. San Diegans shared mixed emotions about the vaccine’s progress Sunday night.

“I think that’s great news. I think it’s great for everyone, because we’ve been really suffering, as Americans, with COVID-19,” said Vanessa Woods, of North Park.

“I think it’s soon. It’s going to be the first round of it, so who knows how legitimate is,” said Michael Jones, also of North Park.  

The announcement was made just days after Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, applied for emergency FDA approval. According to developers, the vaccine requires two doses and is proven to be 95 percent effective.

“We'll also probably see the CDC weigh in on the top priority groups, given the data that is there,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., the Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It’s not clear when the vaccine will become available to the general public and some San Diegans said they don’t plan on taking the vaccine anyway.

“I’m not taking it and hopefully will not be forced to take it,” said Nikki Crockett, of San Marcos.

“I believe by the time it’s available to the public it will be non-effective,” said Paul Simonton, of North Park.

But others said they’re looking forward to the vaccine becoming available.  

“It’s super important. That’s the only way we can get ahead and move on with our lives. I mean, unfortunately I’ve lost three family members this year because of COVID and to other people it just seems like a joke, but to me and my family it’s not a joke,” said Gilberto Cortez, of Chula Vista.

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