The US is poised to roll out millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses within days—with health workers and nursing home residents getting first dibs.
An FDA advisory committee voted overwhelmingly (17–4) yesterday to endorse the 2-dose vaccine after a marathon review process—all but guaranteeing the FDA’s prompt OK for emergency use, Reuters reports.
On the same day, US state health departments reported a record 3,347 coronavirus deaths, noted The Washington Post.
- 2 dissenters took issue with including 16- and 17-year olds, who are low-risk for severe illness and weren’t well-represented in the trial.
- Pregnant women weren’t included in the US vaccine trials. Though no specific risks have been flagged from the vaccine, the FDA will likely advise mothers-to-be to consult with doctors.
The Pfizer rollout will be one of many. And poised for approval next is Moderna’s candidate, which also claims 95% efficacy.
- Between the 2 vaccines, US officials expect to have enough vaccine to inoculate 20 million people by year's end.
Will Americans Give it a Shot?
To beat the pandemic with herd immunity, vaccine uptake would have to be between 58–94%, depending on the efficacy of the candidates used.
That’s much higher than the usual vaccine benchmarks for illnesses like the flu, according to a McKinsey analysis.
And there’s plenty of skepticism amid the excitement: New polling shows that only about half of Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves.
- About a quarter say they won’t take it—with many citing safety concerns and a desire to see how the initial rollout fares, AP reports.
- Who’s most hesitant? Earlier polls show that Blacks, Republicans, and women were more unsure about getting immunized, FiveThirtyEight reports.