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Feb 11, 2021
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(CNN)The United States could start letting the general public have access to Covid-19 vaccines in April, and the country may be able to inoculate most Americans by the middle or end of the summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told NBC's "Today" show that he believes the pace of vaccination will pick up going into March and April.
More doses should be available daily by then, he said. And he said he was "fairly certain" that toward the end of April, pharmacies, community vaccine centers and mobile units will help pick up the pace -- and not just for those in higher priority groups.
"I would imagine by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call for, you know, for better wording, open season," Fauci said. "Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated."
Fauci told ProPublica on Thursday that vaccines could be authorized for young children by September. Pfizer and Moderna, the two companies currently with authorized Covid-19 vaccines in the US, have both begun trials for children -- but have started with older age groups.
Pfizer's trial in children ages 12-15 is fully enrolled with 2,259 participants. The company said it hopes to have results "in the early part of 2021 and from there, we will plan to finalize our study in 5-11 year olds."
Moderna is still enrolling participants in its trial in children ages 12-18, and has plans to start studying its vaccine on even younger children between 6 months and 11 years old.
"I would think by the time we get to school opening, we likely will be able to get people who come into the first grade," Fauci told ProPublica.
Fauci has previously said the Americans had a chance of living a little more normally by early fall, assuming 70% to 85% of the US population was vaccinated by end of summer.
His comments Thursday came as some states have complained vaccine demand has exceeded supply. States initially raced to vaccinate priority populations -- often health care workers and people in long-term care facilities -- followed by seniors and/or essential workers.
More than 34.7 million people in the US had received at least their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of Thursday morning, CDC data shows, while more than 11.1 million people have received two doses.
But Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have indicated their weekly output should pick up.
Pfizer, which said it supplied 20 million doses to the US by January 31, expects to deliver 200 million doses by the end of May, with more later. Moderna, which supplied 30.4 million by January 26, has said it expects to have delivered 100 million total doses by the end of March, with more later.
And Johnson & Johnson would add to the country's supply if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes its one-dose candidate. The company has said it could provide 20 million to 30 million doses by the end of April if the authorization comes.
Meanwhile, more pharmacies nationwide will start providing the shots by appointment starting Friday, and some experts have suggested pharmacies eventually could administer 100 million doses a month, assuming adequate supply.
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