Doctor heading up Operation Warp Speed said herd immunity may be achieved by May

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic could be in sight.

According to Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine initiative Operation Warp Speed, life could start returning to normal in the United States by May. 

How many immunized?

Slaoui made the prediction during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, according to Newsmax.

“For true herd immunity,” Slaoui said, roughly 70% of the U.S. population would have to be immunized. “That is likely to happen in the month of May or something like that, based on our plans,” he said, as Newsmax reported.

Slaoui added that it will be vital for the “negative perception” that people have about the vaccine to dissipate in order for it to be successful.

According to a new Gallup poll, 58% of Americans said they would be willing to get an FDA-approved vaccine at no cost if it were available. However, 42% said they would not get the vaccine.

Slaoui, for his part, said he believes negative perceptions about the vaccine is due in part to attempts to politicize it. Operation Warp Speed “has been isolated from the administration, from the political environment, and the political context,” Slaoui said.

Looking forward

The drugmaker Pfizer appears to be the first company that will be able to offer its vaccine to the market. Pfizer’s vaccine has completed a Phase 3 clinical study which showed it to be 95% effective in preventing coronavirus-associated diseases, ABC News reported.

The company filed an emergency use authorization request with the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

Slaoui said that specific recommendations for vaccine distributions will first be made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Then, it will be determined on a state by state basis. “Each state will independently decide, taking into account the guidance, who to immunize. So some states may make different decisions depending on their population and their situation,” he explained, according to Newsmax.

Regarding the timeline for initial vaccine distribution, Slaoui told Tapper, “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.”

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