COVID-19 vaccine | First Americans could be vaccinated on December 12

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Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of the Operation Warp Speed, the coronavirus vaccine program, says plans are to ship vaccines to states within 24 hours of expected FDA approval.

Operation Warp Speed chief advisor Dr Moncef Slaoui.

Slaoui said that means, if authorized, the vaccine could be rolled out the next day.

Slaoui's comments follow the announcement on Friday that Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, have asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine - which has been found to be 95% effective.

Companies like Pfizer and Moderna have been leading the charge on vaccinations for COVID-19, with Pfizer previously claiming their COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective.

The vaccine will first be made available to front-line healthcare workers and emergency responders, then to at-risk groups, like the elderly.

About 70 per cent of the population needs to be immunised to achieve herd immunity, a goal the country could reach by May, he said.

Testing shortages still plague many parts of the country with most pharmacies offering COVID-19 tests in suburban Chicago were fully booked ahead of Thanksgiving and long lines at state drive-through testing facilities. A Gallup poll from Tuesday showed that 58 percent of Americans said they would get a coronavirus vaccine and 42 percent said they wouldn't.

Mr Biden warned last week that "more people will die if we don't coordinate".

On 11 August, Russia became the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V. The vaccine, which is based on a human adenoviral vector platform, was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and is now completing phase 3 clinical trials. Some experts suggest the data may have been rushed out in an effort to keep up with the worldwide race for a successful coronavirus vaccine.

The number of USA coronavirus cases has surpassed 12 million and rose by more than 1 million cases in less than a week for the first time.

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