It Could Be Summer Or Fall Before Vaccine Is Widely Available, CDC Director Says

( While a coronavirus vaccine could be available by as early as late this year, the majority of Americans will have to wait much longer to actually get it.

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that constraints on supplies will likely prevent most Americans from getting access to the vaccine until the summer or even fall of 2021.

As he said:

“I think there will be vaccine that will initially be available some time between November and December, but very limited supply, and it will have to be prioritized. If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”

The Trump administration released its plan Wednesday to distribute the vaccine quickly after the Food and Drug Administration approves it for use. Through Operation Warp Speed, officials said distribution could be set in motion “within 24 hours” of FDA authorization.

Redfield said the plan released by the Department of Health and Human Services would provide doses for everyone who wants to receive a vaccination.

The federal government has invested billions of dollars into not only producing a coronavirus vaccine but also securing millions of doses of it once it is approved. As the HHS said, “No American will be charged for either the COVID-19 vaccine or its distribution.”

HHS is also working to ensure “no one will be charged any out-of-pocket expenses for the administration of the vaccine either.”

Once a vaccine is approved for use, Redfield said it will first be available to those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. As supplies increase over time, then those Americans who are considered lower risk will have access to it.

President Donald Trump contradicted Redfield’s statement later on Wednesday. At a news conference, he referred to Redfield by saying:

“I think he made a mistake when he said that … We’re ready to distribute immediately to a vast section of the country.”

Trump said the CDC director “didn’t tell me that,” referring to what Redfield said to the Senate subcommittee.

“It was an incorrect statement,” Trump said. “We are ready at a much faster level than he said.”

On Wednesday, the Trump administration gave out a distribution strategy for the vaccine to states. Scott Atlas, an adviser on the coronavirus to the White House, said the plan anticipates that “no later than January, all the top-priority people will be able to receive the vaccine.” Soon after, more Americans will have access to it.

Because of the potential delay in distribution of a vaccine, Redfield said the full effects of the drug on the pandemic would be stretched out for six to nine months from the day it is approved. That’s why he said other safety measures are so important.

“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine,” Redfield said.