Americans could start receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as early as December 11, according to the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, Dr. Moncef Slaoui.
A panel of outside experts that advises the FDA is expected to meet on December 10 to discuss Pfizer's application for an emergency use authorization. Dr. Slaoui says he is expecting a rapid turnaround on the potential approval.
"Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I would expect maybe a day or two after approval," Slaoui said on Sunday. "On the 11 or 12 of December, hopefully, the first people will be immunized across the United States."
Pfizer's vaccine, initially claiming a 90% efficacy rate, surpassed its own expectations to become the the first vaccine candidate to declare a 95% efficacy in the final trials, with a 94% efficacy in older, more vulnerable groups.
Dr. Slaoui had previously said he expected to immunize 20 million people in the month of December and as many as 30 million additional people could receive a vaccine each following month.
In additional hopeful news, Dr. Slaoui says he expects that life could return "back to normal" as early as May.