A Covid-19 vaccine for specific groups will likely be available by the end of December, Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, predicted Wednesday.
“So, my guess is there's a probability that a vaccine will be released by EUA (emergency use authorization) by the end of the year for, for specific groups,” Lipsitch said during a coronavirus town hall hosted by the American Lung Association.
“Otherwise, I think in terms of a fully licensed vaccine, that is more likely in the late winter, spring of 2021,” he said.
Other health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have also said they believe a coronavirus shot could be available for the most vulnerable populations, including health care workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, by the end of the year.
There are 10 vaccines in late-stage clinical trials: Lipsitch believes the vaccine that has the best chances of crossing the finish line first is the one by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer with its partner BioNTech.
“So, the trials we’ve been hearing about, probably the two most prominent things we’ve been hearing a lot about are the two messenger RNA vaccines,” Lipsitch said.
“This is a new technology that's being used that’s being applied by both the company Moderna and the company Pfizer,” he said. “Those are both well into their Phase 3 trials and it looks like probably the Pfizer one would be the first to give an early answer about preliminary estimates of how well it works.”
Currently there are 10 Covid-19 vaccine candidates in late-stage, large clinical trials around the world.