Possibly on December 11 or 12, the first Americans can be vaccinated against corona. That’s what a senior US government official said on CNN.
On December 10, the US Food and Drug Administration will consider the permit application of the concern Pfizer-BioNTech, which was submitted last Friday. According to Moncef Slaoui, a senior official of the US vaccination program, things could go fast after that, he said in an interview with CNN.
“Our plan is to ship the vaccines to the vaccination sites within 24 hours of approval, so I think we can start on December 11th or 12th. With an effectiveness of 95 percent, we can achieve herd immunity by May if we vaccinate about 70 percent of the population, ”says Slaoui, a Moroccan immunologist who has lived and studied in Belgium.
However, outgoing President Donald Trump’s new coronatologist immediately tempered expectations by adding that there will not be immediate enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone. Medical staff, the elderly and people with underlying health problems are given priority. According to Slaoui, it will take until mid-2021 before children can also be vaccinated.
Same sound domestically
The American timing is quite similar to that at home. The federal government also expects a first batch of vaccines to be available before the end of the year. But Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) immediately nuanced in The Seventh Day that we still have to reckon with an abnormal way of life.
“It is not that everyone will be vaccinated within a month,” it said. ‘The bulk of the population will only be able to be vaccinated in the second and third quarter. A long period awaits us in which we will have to remain very careful. ‘
A task force is currently examining the vaccination strategy, but parts of that strategy are already clear, according to the prime minister. ‘First we will vaccinate the people who work in healthcare. Second, it is the turn of the most vulnerable, including the over-65s. ‘
Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke, also a guest in the studio, made another bet with prestators Lieven Verstraete and Lisbeth Imbo about this vaccination strategy. The minister is convinced that the distribution of and vaccination with the vaccine will run smoothly. “If that doesn’t work, you can shoot me,” Vandenbroucke said jokingly.
Donkey and stone
De Croo and Vandenbroucke also talked about Friday’s planned consultation committee. Among other things, the fate of the non-essential shops and museums closed by the pandemic is on the table. But De Croo clearly did not want to create too many expectations. ‘We will have to see what is epidemiologically justified’, it sounded.
A third wave would become even more dramatic, also economically.
Vandenbroucke also does not seem to immediately think about relaxation, even though he is concerned about what he calls ‘despair’ in many people. ‘But a donkey shouldn’t hit the same stone twice. We’ve slumped from a first wave into a second, which is worse than the first. A third wave would become even more dramatic, then we would end up in even greater misery. ‘
‘We are now asking a lot to avoid that,’ Vandenbroucke continued. I realize that. But gentle healers make smelly wounds. And a third wave would be an enormously smelly wound, also economically. ‘
“Either we crack a third wave during the Christmas period, or we make it,” Prime Minister De Croo summarized in the coming weeks. “I’d like to crack them.”