When and How You’ll Get a Vaccine

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For Americans, months of collective isolation and fear could soon be winding down. A viable coronavirus vaccine may be just weeks away.

According to a timeline described by Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to accelerate vaccine development, the first Americans could receive a shot as early as mid-December, with herd immunity potentially reached by May 2021.

That timeline, while feasible on paper, requires a lot of things to go right.

With vaccines within reach, we turn to more logistical questions: Who will receive the shots first, and in what order will others follow? Who will distribute it? And what could go wrong?

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On today’s episode

Katie Thomas, who covers the drug industry for The New York Times.

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Promising clinical trials have buoyed hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight. But even if the vaccines are authorized, only a sliver of the American public will be able to get one by the end of the year.

In mid-December, 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine are expected to be shipped across the United States in an initial push.

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Katie Thomas contributed reporting.

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