During a Thanksgiving Day address to the American people, President Donald Trump delivered the message that millions of people have been waiting to hear.
Addressing the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the president announced Thursday that the initial deliveries of an effective vaccine are imminent, Fox News reported.
“We are rounding the curve”
Trump’s encouraging remarks came after a conference call with U.S. troops stationed overseas for the holiday.
“The whole world is suffering and we are rounding the curve,” the president declared. “And the vaccines are being delivered next week or the week after.”
Several promising candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine have received ample news coverage in recent days.
FDA set to review emergency request
The option Trump was likely referring to, however, is a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which has been shown to be 95% effective in widespread Phase 3 trials.
As a result, Pfizer has submitted an emergency use authorization request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is scheduled to be reviewed next month. It is apparently this timeline that gave Trump such optimism about the speed by which a vaccine will be available to early recipients.
The news also comes, however, as the nation experiences what experts say is yet another spike in coronavirus infections. Johns Hopkins estimates the U.S. has already seen nearly 13 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“Somewhere in the month of May”
A safe and effective vaccine could not come at a better time, and the recent successes appear to be linked to the Trump administration’s so-called Operation Warp Speed initiative.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a top scientist on the task force, said he believes life could return to normal within six months if vaccine distribution begins in mid-December.
“Normally, with the level of efficacy we have — 95% — then 70% or so of the population being immunized would allow true herd immunity to take place,” he explained, according to Fox. “That is likely to happen somewhere in the month of May, something like that, based on our plans.”