Dr. Anthony Fauci said vaccines won’t be available to the “general public” before mid- to late May or early June, he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Tuesday.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged that previous estimates had placed vaccine availability for the general public — or nonessential workers under 65 with no health conditions — closer to the end of April.
“If you start talking about when the vaccine would be more widely available to the general population, I was hoping that that would be by the end of April, namely, have gone through all the priorities and now say, OK anyone can get it,” Fauci said. “That was predicated on J&J, the Johnson product, having considerably more doses than now we know they’re going to have.”
Johnson & Johnson will have fewer than 10 million vaccine doses available if the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes it for emergency use in the coming weeks, a federal health official told CNN earlier this month.
“So, that timeline will probably be prolonged, maybe into mid- to late May and early June, that’s fine,” Fauci said.
He downplayed the shifted expectations and noted that there will be several months between when vaccinations are generally available and when each person will individually be able to access one.
“You can say, let’s say in May, vaccines are going to be widely available to almost anybody May, June, but it may take to June, July and August to finally get everyone vaccinated,” he said. “So when you hear about how long it’s going to take to get the overwhelming population vaccinated, I don’t think anybody disagrees that that’s going to be well to the end of the summer and we get in the early fall.”
Fauci’s comments come as the US on Monday reported more than 53,800 new Covid-19 infections: its lowest daily case count since October and a vastly different number from those plaguing the country just last month, when infections were topping 200,000 a day.
Statistics across the US are now reflecting more encouraging trends. California, one of the states hit hardest by the pandemic, reported its lowest daily case increase since early November.
That comes amid a steady decline not only in new infections but also in hospitalizations as well.