(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — With vaccinations already underway due to Pfizer gaining FDA emergency authorization to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine, White House officials are optimistic that the turning point in the pandemic has finally arrived.
In addition, Moderna will stand before the Food and Drug Administration for its hearing on Thursday, where it is also expected to gain approval for emergency authorization.
With two COVID-19 vaccines expected to tackle the pandemic, Moncef Slaoui, President Donald Trump’s top science adviser in the vaccine effort, predicts a sizable number of seniors will be fully inoculated by early spring.
Speaking to CNBC’s Health Returns on Wednesday, Slaoui expects 100 million of the nation’s seniors will be vaccinated by March.
He also referenced the vaccines are administered in two separate doses, which is why the projected date may not seem so immediate.
Added Slaoui, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens will soon be able to administer the vaccine, with expectations set for February.
About 120 million American senior citizens live in the country.
The optimism comes as the wave of Thanksgiving travel-related COVID-19 cases began impacting states around the nation.
California says the state added 53,711 new cases on Wednesday, which is a 3.3 percent jump from the previous day. That is the highest number of daily new cases the state has ever reported.
In addition, the nation’s death rate is also increasing at a rapid pace, with 3,019 deaths from COVID-19 reported on Tuesday. Breaking down that number results in one death every 30 seconds.
The U.S. reported 17,292 additional COVID-19 deaths in the past seven days, another new weekly high.
112,000 people are currently hospitalized, another record number.
As of early Thursday, the U.S. is expected to cross 17 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. The nation’s death toll currently reports 307,501 deaths, says Johns Hopkins University.