By Dan Whitcomb and Maria Caspani / Reuters
Americans who have endured eight months of restrictions, lockdown and business closures in the face of the pandemic are pinning their hopes on vaccines developed by drug companies Pfizer Inc and Moderna that are awaiting U.S. government approval for emergency use.
U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said Pfizer’s medication could be authorized and shipped within days of a Dec. 10 meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration.
Moderna’s vaccine could follow a week later, Azar said, after the company announced on Monday it would apply for emergency authorization both in the U.S. and Europe.
“So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas,” Azar said on CBS’ “This Morning.”
Health officials in many states say that even after the vaccines are approved the rollout to Americans nationwide could be slowed by shortages of personal protective equipment and other factors.
The non-partisan Government Accountability Office reported on Monday that some diagnostic test kits and accompanying reagents, as well as PPE are hard to come by “due to a supply chain with limited domestic production and high global demand.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday California was at a “tipping point” in the COVID-19 pandemic that would soon overwhelm hospitals as political leaders nationwide turn to increasingly aggressive measures to hold back the latest surge.
Newsom said he may clamp new “stay-at-home” orders on the state’s roughly 40 million residents in the face of infections and hospitalizations that are still rising weeks before emergency vaccines are predicted for release.
“(California) has worked hard to prepare for a surge — but we can’t sustain the record high cases we’re seeing,” Newsom said on Twitter. “Current projections show CA will run out of current ICU beds before Christmas Eve.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: