If the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines goes smoothly, it might be possible to achieve widespread immunity among the US population by next summer, top scientist Anthony Fauci said.
In an interview with WebMD released on Wednesday, the infectious disease official suggested that people could have weddings as early as June or July.
Fauci said he believes that priority populations like nursing home residents, healthcare workers, critical workers, the elderly, high risk people, etc. should receive their shots by March or early April.
“We could start doing what I call the ‘open season’ for vaccination in April – which is to get everyone in the general population who wants to be vaccinated to be vaccinated.”
He continued, “By mid or late summer we will probably have 70 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated if we do it right.
“When that happens, there will be a protective shield across the country.”
When asked if people who had postponed their weddings to March or April 2021 would have to postpone again, he replied, “You know, they should have done it by June, July.”
Fauci’s comments come after the US approved two emergency vaccines, one from Pfizer and BioNTech and one from Moderna and the National Institutes for Health.
Also on Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that it had purchased an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. The vaccination should take place by July.
This brings the current U.S. supply of Covid-19 vaccines to 400 million doses – half from Pfizer and the other half from Moderna – and enables 200 million people to be immunized under the two-shot regime.
“Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will deliver at least 70 million doses by June 30, 2021, with the remainder of the 100 million doses due by July 31, 2021 at the latest,” said a Defense Department statement.
The agreement includes options for an additional 400 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The U.S. is hoping to immunize 20 million people this month, with long-term care residents and health workers at the forefront.
On Sunday, a panel of experts said that people aged 75 and over, along with 30 million frontline essential workers, including teachers, grocery store workers and the police, should be the next to be vaccinated.
Governments are also hoping to see more vaccine manufacturer approvals, with Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca next on the agenda.