What will it take to get a vaccine?

Posted at 7:28 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 22:28:49-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — As the cases of coronavirus continue to intensify one question is when will there be a vaccine and what steps need to happen before you or your loved ones can get it? Joe St. George has the key dates and information you need to be on the lookout for.

Press releases and studies from pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Phizer are giving hope that a vaccine may soon be on the horizon. So when will a vaccine actually be available to you? Well, circle your calendars now. On December 10th the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, will hold a public meeting on Phizer's vaccine. On December 17th, they will hold a hearing on Moderna's vaccine.

The hearings are being conducted by the "Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee" and they could give approval within 72 hours of the first hearing taking place. But that is just the beginning. Once the FDA signs off then the CDC will have to finalize who should be prioritized for vaccination.

This week a CDC advisory group said Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be the first. After the CDC, governors, and mayors will, according to the department of health and human services, act as "air traffic controllers" ordering which individuals at which facilities should get the vaccine first. If the current timeline holds, those orders will start going out around December 11th or 12th.

But the hardest part will likely be just getting the vaccine to its destination. While flights are already taking off around the country better positioning the vaccine for distribution, vaccines require refrigeration.

Moderna's vaccine can be stored in a normal refrigerator 40 degrees or so. Phizer's vaccine needs to be kept at -94 degrees Fahrenheit during shipment, which might be difficult in some rural areas.

Because the government is determining who gets the vaccine, it's not something that can be bought by those who are wealthy. However, if you aren't classified as someone who needs the vaccine first most likely it'll be the spring or summer before you can go to a pharmacy and get a vaccine yourself.

All the science in the world isn't going to matter if you can't people to be immunized against COVID.

Dr. John Brownstein though of Boston Children's Hospital said the looming question is will Americans actually want to get the vaccine first, which requires two doses. Presidents Bush Clinton and Obama committed to getting the vaccine on television to inspire confidence.