Speaking on Monday, Lieutenant General Paul Ostrowski said all Americans who wanted a Covid-19 vaccine “at that time” would do so.
“A hundred percent of Americans that want the vaccine will have had the vaccine by that point in time,” said Lt. Ostrowski to MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian. “We will have over 300 million doses available to the American public well before then.”
Clinical studies say both vaccines protect at least 94 per cent of those who receive doses.
Asked when vaccinations would start, Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientific adviser, Moncef Slaoui, told CNN last week that people could receive doses within 24 hours, once approved.
“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours from the [FDA] approval, so I would expect maybe on day two, after approval,” he said last Sunday.
“Hopefully, the first people will be immunised across the United States, across all states,” around 11-12th December, following the FDA’s meeting to review Pfizer’s application on 10th December, said Mr Slaoui.
The agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will then meet again on 17th December to review Moderna’s application.
With Operation Warp Speed plans to vaccine some 20 million Americans in December, and up to another 30 million per month afterwards, Mr Slaoui added that with vaccine rates at around 70 per cent, that “would allow true herd immunity to take place”.
“That is likely to happen somewhere in the month of May or something like that based on our plans,” said the chief scientific adviser, who added that he hoped acceptance around the vaccine would increase as time went on. “That’s going to be critical to help us.
“Most people need to be immunised before we can go back to a normal life.”
Operation Warp Speed, the public–private partnership initiated by the US government to assist in the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, has been working since May.