The chief adviser of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, said on Sunday that he sees light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, predicting a return to normal once a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available. As for when the top adviser expects that to happen, Slauoui said sometime around April or May.
"I think we may start to see some impact on the most susceptible people probably in the month of January and February, but on a population basis, for our lives to start getting back to normal, we're talking about April or May," Slaoui told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are set to meet on Thursday to vote on whether or not to grant emergency use authorization of Pfizer's vaccine candidate.
Slaoui encouraged Americans to "take comfort in the fact that we have light at the end of the tunnel and find the energy in that to continue to wear our masks, distance, wash our hands, pay attention to what we are doing to make sure that we are there by the spring to benefit from the vaccine."
The top adviser said he expects the FDA to make a positive decision, but said "of course, it's their decision."
"And as you probably know, they are totally separated and firewalled from the operation," Slaoui said. "They will make their own judgment based on the data. And I hope that the decision will be positive."
Slaoui said shipments will go out to the states as soon as a vaccine is approved by the FDA.
“We may start to see some impact on the most susceptible people in the month of January and February,” but for normal life to return - Operation Warp Speed's Moncef Slaoui predicts a "light at the end of the tunnel" by April or May. pic.twitter.com/MxM5MqPX41— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 6, 2020
Pfizer's drug has shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. The FDA is also set to consider Moderna's request for an emergency use authorization next week. Moderna's vaccine candidate has shown to be over 94 percent effective in clinical trials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be first in line for vaccination. Individuals over the age of 65, essential workers, and those with underlying medical conditions should be vaccinated in a second phase.
The Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed helped expedite the development of vaccine candidates for the Wuhan coronavirus. The Trump administration has also been working with states and local governments to rush the distribution of a vaccine once a candidate receives authorization from the FDA.