Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNBC that “it was very likely” that the US government is close to a deal with Pfizer for up to 100 million additional doses of Covid vaccine.
“It’s good news that it sounds very likely,” said Collins. “We’re going to have 400 million doses between Pfizer and Moderna around June or July, but remember, these are vaccines that require two doses.”
In a Tuesday night interview on The News with Shepard Smith, Collins said he hoped for advances in Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines, which could be rapidly produced on a large scale.
Operation Warp Speed reported that there will be nearly six million doses of the Moderna vaccine in 3,400 locations between Tuesday and Wednesday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,600,000 Covid vaccine doses have been distributed to health care facilities in the United States, and approximately 13% of those doses have been given to patients. Collins pointed out the “logistical challenge” when host Shepard Smith asked him about the differences.
“I think getting that number of doses into a system where the arms start injecting takes a little over a few days, and we’ve only had about ten days since that became possible,” said Collins.
Collins then put the responsibility on the states, saying it is their responsibility to figure out how they will administer the vaccines, as per the CDC recommendation of who should go first.
The vaccine news comes from reports of a new, highly contagious variant of Covid in the UK. The UK recorded nearly 700 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number since early May. However, Collins said the rapidly spreading variant of Covid should come as no surprise.
“RNA viruses change over time … the original Wuhan virus can’t be found because it found another mutation on the way to New York, and what’s replaced is something more contagious,” said Collins . “That’s how it works.”
Due to the mutations in Covid, Collins said that it is possible that the population will need an updated version of the vaccine in a few years’ time and that the current vaccine “is more like your tetanus shot that requires a booster now and now . ” then, unlike something, you do it once and you’re done. “
The coronavirus pandemic has killed record numbers of Americans on a daily basis and the number is expected to deteriorate due to gatherings over the Christmas vacation. According to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data, more than 18 million people in the United States have Covid-19, a million more infected Americans than five days ago. In today’s remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden even warned: “Our darkest days in the fight against Covid are ahead, not behind, so we must prepare.”
Collins said that to fight the spread everyone must take responsibility and try not to be the person who becomes the super-spreader.
“It’s all the more reason why we have to practice wearing masks and distancing and washing our hands during these dark weeks, all of the things that people are fed up with but we can’t step back right now,” said Collins.