WHO Doc Says Young Healthy People May Not Get Vaccine Until 2022

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Meanwhile, a 50 euro double-dose experimental coronavirus vaccine is being made available to some residents in an eastern Chinese city, health officials have said, the first details of a mass rollout for an as-yet unproven vaccine.

That's a clear shift from Bourla's previous comments, which constantly featured "October" as the key word-at a time when President Donald Trump was touting a vaccine before the November 3 election, and mentioning Pfizer by name.

Pfizer Inc said on Friday it could file for USA authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech in late November, suggesting it is possible a vaccine could be available in the United States this year.

Bourla noted, "The timelines above reflect our best estimates of when these important milestones could be achieved". Then the "vaccine must be proven safe, with robust safety data generated from thousands of patients".

In a draft document framework released last month, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said only 10 million to 15 million doses of a vaccine may be available initially, which may cover only 3 to 5 per cent of the US population.

A BioNTech spokesperson confirmed the time frame for the potential EUA application to the FDA. In October, "the truth will be revealed", was what he told The Washington Post. "It has said that it may have interim data on its 30,000 person trial as soon as November", as reported by Reuters. The company pointed out that illnesses, even severe cases, "are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies".

Though President Trump and others have portrayed it as a silver bullet in bringing the rampaging deadly virus to an end, epidemiologists and vaccine researchers tend to portray any COVID-19 vaccine more as one effective tool among many in the fight against the spread of the disease. A vaccine could possibly be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as early as late November, but it would take at least several more months before the vaccine would be widely available.

Polls show many Americans are hesitant about taking a coronavirus vaccine and concerned that the approval process could be driven by politics.

Asked about the report, a spokesman for the health ministry said there were no certainties in the development, production or timing of a vaccine.

With an unprecedented global demand for a vaccine, governments will have to work so that people most at risk get immunised first. The agreement provides the USA government an option to purchase an additional 500 million doses.

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