New Delhi: Amid a global race for the first coronavirus vaccine, the United States said it hopes to begin vaccinations by early December, the head of the US government’s vaccine czar announced on Sunday as cases continued to surge across the nation. Also Read - India Might Not Get Pfizer-BioNTech Coronavirus Vaccine Anytime Soon | Here’s Why

The vaccination program developed by leading drugmaker Pfizer Inc could begin as early as December 11-12 and could be a turning point in the worst-hit country’s battle against the deadly virus that has claimed more than 255,000 lives, making it the world’s highest reported toll so far. Also Read - First COVID-19 Vaccine is Here But do we All Need to be Vaccinated? Here's What we Know

Earlier this week, American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and an FDA vaccine advisory committee is slated to meet on December 10. Also Read - SpiceJet Gearing Up To Provide Logistical Support for Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December,” by the US Food and Drug Administration, Moncef Slaoui told CNN, as quoted by AFP.

“Hopefully, the first people will be immunized across the United States, across all states, in all the areas where the State Departments of Health will have told us where to deliver the vaccine,” Slaoui said.

Pfizer Asks For Emergency Use

Pfizer, which was reported as 95 per cent effective, has said the emergency use of its vaccine could start the process early and the doses could be available as early as next month.

It also said that the first supplies of the emergency use vaccine will be scarce and rationed.
Slaoui estimated that 20 million people across the US could be vaccinated in December, with 30 million per month after that.

Meanwhile, the final results of the vaccine trials are still being computed.

Pfizer Vaccine in India

Experts have said that the availability of Pfizer vaccine in India may be difficult as it requires extremely cold temperatures of minus 70 degrees celsius for storage. This cold-chain requirement could pose a serious challenge, especially in developing nations like India.

“…If at all it has to be obtained, we are examining what we need to do…and will work out a strategy,” said NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul.