Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine: What is the timeline?

Hampden County

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A coronavirus vaccine is closer to reaching our hospitals as cases continue to soar after the Thanksgiving holiday. So, when could they be available?

Health experts say they could be here in the next couple of weeks. The Massachusetts biotech firm, Moderna will submit its coronavirus vaccine for regulatory approval.

The drug company will ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization after completing its Phase 3 trial. The first injections may be given as early as December 21.

Meanwhile, Pfizer’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Pfizer is also seeking emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after finding the vaccine to be 95 percent effective.

Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health told 22News, “So by the end of the month we ought to have two vaccines approved and roughly 15 to 20 million people able to be vaccinated based on some doses that have already been manufactured.”

This comes as coronavirus cases soar after the Thanksgiving holiday as millions of Americans traveled to see family despite the CDC urging people to stay home. The TSA processed more than 7-million passengers in the past week. It was the busiest days for travel since the pandemic began.

Experts worry holiday travel could add to the caseload, a caseload that is already surging.

Keroack added, “We currently have 103 patients in the health system and we can go as high as 230 beds at the Springfield campus with another 150 at the community hospitals but the issue is less about the physical beds than it is about the physical staff to take care of the patients.”

The first shots of the two vaccines are likely to go to certain groups, including health care workers, essential workers like police officers. On Tuesday, a panel of advisers to the CDC will meet to determine how to allocate initial supplies of vaccine.

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