WASHINGTON — U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said he believes the general public will be completely vaccinated between June and September of 2021. This comes after the administration downgraded the quantity of vaccines it projects to distribute by the end of the year.
What You Need To Know
- U.S. Surgeon General believes the general public will be completely vaccinated by September of 2021
- Once a vaccine is approved by the FDA, about 40 million doses will be sent by the end of the year, enough to vaccinate 20 million
- That is a tenth of the vaccines initially promised by the White House
"We still expect at the end of the second quarter, at the end of the third quarter, we will get everyone who wants to get vaccinated, vaccinated,” Adams said in an interview with Spectrum News at the White House on Tuesday.
Adams is trying to set expectations. Once a vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, about 40 million doses will be sent by the end of the year, enough to vaccinate 20 million people with two shots. That’s a tenth of vaccines the White House initially promised by the end of the year.
“I feel really good that we are going to get 20 million people vaccinated in the next several weeks,” he said.
"We want to make sure older people, people in long-term care facilities are getting the vaccines first, followed by health workers, so we can preserve our health capacity. We wouldn’t be able to massively vaccinate 300 million people all at once anyway,” Dr. Adams explained.
The COVID-19 vaccines will likely prevent you from getting sick, but it's unclear whether it could keep you from spreading the virus. @Surgeon_General tells me the public will need to continue to be vigilant after vaccines are out. "We still have to commit to basic mitigation." pic.twitter.com/yF8UOZCF2m— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) December 8, 2020
The White House is disputing reports that it had the opportunity to buy more doses of the Pfizer vaccine this summer but declined. Now, the federal government won’t be able to buy more vaccine from Pfizer until this summer because other countries have bought up its supply.
“I wasn’t involved in the purchasing process but I have talked to the people who are and they say it is categorically untrue that they passed on buying guaranteed doses of vaccine,” Adams said.
"You have to remember back this summer, there was a lot of conjecture about whether or not these vaccines would successfully make it across the finish line," he added. "What Operation Warped Speed did was look at the different companies and give the United States the best possible chance to have a successful vaccine. I feel very good that we are going to get 20 million people vaccinated in the next couple of weeks."
.@Surgeon_General tells me he believes the public could be completely vaccinated between June & Sept 2021. This after the administration downgraded the quantity of vaccines it projects to distribute by Dec 2020 from 300 million to 40 million (20 million people with 2 shots). pic.twitter.com/K6ol0F9eIx— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) December 8, 2020
Adams is attempting to increase public confidence in the vaccine, coordinating a public relations campaign behind the scenes. It’s unclear how much federal funding is being utilized.
“I have been working with celebrity influencers, I have been working with faith communities, historically black colleges and universities, the divine nine, we want to make sure, particularly the groups that are going to hard hit, people of color, people with vulnerabilities, understand the vaccine is safe and effective,” he said.
The new vaccines will probably prevent you from getting sick, but no one knows whether it could keep you from spreading it to others. That’s why Adams says the public will need to continue to be vigilant.
“It’s important for people to understand that vaccine or no — we still have to commit to basic mitigation measures," he said. "The three W’s - wearing a mask, washing your hands, watching your distance through the first and second quarters of next year."
Adams said he has not communicated with anyone from the Biden Transition. The transition team will be meeting with Operation Warped Speed members on Thursday.
.@Surgeon_General is disputing reports the Administration passed on buying more doses of the Pfizer vaccine this summer but declined. “I wasn’t involved in the purchasing process but I have talked to the people who are and they say it is categorically untrue." pic.twitter.com/v9XCBfxolY— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) December 8, 2020