Initial supplies of any vaccine for the novel coronavirus likely will be only 10-20% of what is needed for high-priority groups such as health-care workers, forcing government officials to prioritize who should receive it first, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a committee of outside vaccine advisers last week that as few as 10 million to 20 million doses of a vaccine may be available as soon as it is approved for inoculations, the Journal said.
That’s a small fraction of the 100 million doses public health officials have estimated will be required for doctors and nurses, “essential workers” and nursing-home residents, who are considered more at risk of contracting the virus or developing a more severe case of COVID-19 than the general public.
“Given the initial anticipated supply, not all groups that are deemed a priority will be able to be vaccinated at once,” CDC medical officer Dr. Sarah Mbaeyi said during the presentation.
The Journal quoted anonymous officials as saying that its possible that emergency room and intensive care unit medical personnel would be deemed most important since other health-care workers would have less interaction with the sickest patients.
Although no vaccine has been approved, three companies already are conducting large-scale clinical trials of potential inoculations, with any of one of them ready by as early as October.
Moderna said that if its drug is approved, it could produce millions of doses later this year and 1 billion next year. Pfizer said it has plans to produce 100 million doses by the end of this year and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
AstraZeneca, which has received $1.2 billion in federal funding, has promised to produce as least 300 million doses by the end of the year with initial supplies as soon as October.
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