Inoculation will likely last long, get immediate okay, US vaccine boss says

The head of the US vaccine development effort says he believes the COVID-19 vaccine could have long-lasting effect once distributed.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that only time will tell for certain, but that, in his opinion, the vaccine’s effectiveness could last for “many, many years,” with older people and others who are more vulnerable requiring a booster every three to five years.

He says that one of the hallmarks of immune systems is memory, so the body’s response to the coronavirus will be much faster once vaccinated.

He says that once 70 to 80% of the population is vaccinated, “the virus will go down.”

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Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, November 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Slaoui also tells CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he is confident that the Food and Drug Administration will approve the coronavirus vaccine from the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, this week.

FDA officials will meet to review the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday, and it could be authorized almost immediately.

“Based on the data I know, I expect the FDA to make a positive decision, but of course, it’s their decision,” he says.

But White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx warns Americans not to let their guard down, even so.

Birx, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” notes that more than 100 million Americans suffered preexisting heath conditions that put them at high risk if they contract the virus. The vast majority of those will not have access to the vaccine for months.

“I want to be very frank with the American people,” Birx says. “The vaccine’s critical, but it’s not going to save us from this current surge. Only we can save us from this current surge, and we know precisely what to do.”

— AP

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