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Dr. Fauci Just Said When You'd Get Your Vaccine

“We anticipate, although they're all logistic challenges, that it will be done successfully.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci

A sliver of light has shone through the dark tunnel: Pfizer announced its vaccine trial has shown the drug was 90% effective at preventing the disease. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, walked Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC through how we'll each get ours, once it's proven ready. Read on to hear what he says about the future of the vaccine, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

How We Will Be Sure to Get a Safe Vaccine

Fauci discussed each hurdle that needs to be cleared before the vaccine is ready to shoot into your arm: 

  • "First of all, the process—so that the American public knows—is that an independent body, a data and safety monitoring board, looked at the data when they reached a certain, a number of events, namely a certain number of infections and examined the data and looked at it and said that the efficacy of this was really quite impressive. It was over 90%. They made that known to the company."
  • "What the company does now is that they look at the data themselves. They analyze it because now that's the first time that they themselves have seen the data. Then they presented to the FDA and the independent career scientists at the FDA will again, look at the data and then consult with an advisory board that they have—an advisory committee. And they will then advise them as to what to do."
  • "Very likely they'll put in for what's called an emergency use authorization, which ultimately will be an application for full approval of this particular vaccine—then likely will take place over the next week to a week and a half. And then what will happen is that we end of November, the beginning of December, if that goes through—and again, I don't want to get ahead of the FDA, if they're going to dot all the I's and cross all the T's—but I believe with the impressive nature of the data that that should go through smoothly, that by the time we get into December, we'll be able to have doses available for people who are judged to be at the highest priority to get."
  • As for logistics, "about getting the supply chain intact with the cold requirements"—the vaccine needs to be shipped at a certain low temperature—"that's all been anticipated and part of Operation Warp Speed, particularly on the general, Gus Perna, the general from the army who has been responsible for making sure this goes smoothly. We anticipate, although they're all logistic challenges that it will be done successfully."

Who Will Get the Vaccine First?

Mitchell asked Fauci: "How can you be sure that it will be delivered equitably in the early testing? People who were well off had a lot of advantages over the rest of the American people."

  • "Well, you know, that's an excellent question and we paid a lot of attention to that," said Fauci. "The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that there's distribution within the trial itself of people, of various demographic groups, elderly, minority individuals, particularly African-Americans Latinx, et cetera."
  • "What we have well-established in this country is that the ultimate decision of the distribution in priority, or it goes with the CDC, their advisory committee on immunization practices, traditionally over the years for other vaccines has been responsible for advising them as to the prioritization of the distribution. That's being supplemented this year by input from the National Academy of Medicine that is going to weigh in on that. They will ultimately make recommendations to the CDC and the CDC will then determine the prioritization."
  • "Hopefully since this is such an effective vaccine or efficacious, at least in the trial, that after a reasonable period of time, we will get vaccine to everyone who wants and needs it. And hopefully that will be the overwhelming majority of the country because with a vaccine that has this potential, this together with the continuation of the public health measures really should get us out of this very difficult situation we're into. So the vaccine is a very, very important tool in ending this pandemic, both domestically and internationally."

"We would be giving vaccine to people very likely before the end of this year," Fauci told CNN. "That is good news." And will Fauci take the vaccine himself? After he looks at the date, if he feels comfortable with it: "Yes." And he'll tell his family—and you—to do so also.

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How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic

Until the vaccine is available, practice Fauci's fundamentals: wear a face mask, social distance, stay outdoors more than indoors, avoid crowds and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID