COVID Vaccine - when can I get it?

TLDR; AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna have released positive vaccine trial results. We've created a timeline; expect widespread availability by late spring 2021.

Both Moderna and Pfizer have applied for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval process typically takes weeks but is likely to be faster for these vaccines as the FDA has been reviewing data as it has become available rather than waiting for the manufacturers' formal applications.

Some of the remaining necessary steps before vaccinations begin:

December 1, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting today to finalize guidelines for vaccination priorities. It is likely that frontline healthcare workers will be vaccinated first, followed by other frontline workers, those over age 65, and those with preexisting conditions.

Before December 8, 2020: The FDA will release scheduling details about a meeting to discuss Moderna's vaccine candidate.

December 8, 2020: The FDA will release briefing materials for its meeting to review Pfizer's vaccine candidate.

December 10, 2020: The FDA will hold an advisory committee meeting to review the Pfizer vaccine candidate's effectiveness and safety data. FDA will broadcast the meeting live via YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Details about the meeting schedule are available here. The committee will submit a recommendation to the FDA and if recommended, EUA approval will likely follow later on the same day, or within a few days.

December 11-12, 2020: Assuming the EUA is granted, vaccine administration could begin within one or two days.

Before December 15, 2020: The FDA should release briefing materials for its meeting to review Moderna’s vaccine candidate.

December 17, 2020: The FDA will hold an advisory committee meeting to review the Moderna vaccine candidate's effectiveness and safety data. Similar to the meeting a week prior, a recommendation from the advisory committee would likely be acted on promptly by the FDA.

Beyond these dates, the schedule is much less clear.

Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GSK’s vaccine division and an advisor to Operation Warp Speed, has estimated that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated in December 2020 with another 25 to 30 million per month to follow. If this timeline is correct, by Valentine’s Day nearly one-fourth of the US population could be vaccinated and doses could be available for young healthy adults who wish to be vaccinated.

The US government has purchased 100 million vaccine doses each from Moderna and Pfizer, along with the option to buy hundreds of millions of additional doses of each vaccine if needed.

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson also have late-stage trials underway. If these vaccines prove effective and safe, additional supplies might be available in the spring, as the US government has contracted for 100 million doses from each company.

The recent vaccine developments news is exciting. This is not the time to relax other strategies to prevent the spread of COVID. Stay safe!