The US faces a ‘disaster’ if it doesn’t get the vaccine sooner
The US is facing a “disaster” if it fails to get the country’s first ever vaccine for a major viral pandemic by the end of the year, according to an influential medical association.
Dr David Heymann, chairman of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AOA) and an expert on the vaccine, told the BBC the US faces an “unacceptable” “crisis” if the vaccine fails to come by the Christmas break, when it will be given free to all US children aged 4-12.
The vaccine will be available to anyone who is eligible for free vaccinations for the second consecutive year.
“The situation is so dire,” Dr Heymann said.
“If the US fails to reach the December 31 target, then we have a crisis.
It will be the first time that the US has ever failed to get a vaccine in its lifetime.”
He said if the US is not able to get it by the holiday period, then “we are in a very dangerous situation”.
Dr Heymann described the vaccine as a “game-changer” and said it would be the only vaccine that would be used by millions of people in the US and its neighbours, Europe and Asia.
But he warned that there was no guarantee the vaccine would reach the majority of US children.
It will be free for everyone who is 18 or older and eligible for an exemption for those aged 18-35, according the AOA, which has the largest membership of physicians in the world.
He also warned that if the deadline was not met by Christmas, then there would be “huge uncertainty” for the US economy, which was already struggling with the pandemic.
However, Dr Heyman said he was confident the vaccine was on track to being delivered by the summer.
While the AO is not recommending any specific vaccinations, the association said the vaccine could protect the country from a major vaccine shortage if it were not delivered by Christmas.
There are currently no known cases of serious complications in the vaccinated population, Dr Michael D’Agostino, a consultant neurologist and senior vice president of the AOO, told Reuters news agency.
Although there is no known risk of serious illness in the population, the vaccine is administered in a small number of settings, including hospitals and clinics, and will have to be administered by trained healthcare workers.
As part of its efforts to prevent the outbreak from spreading further, the US Health and Human Services Department has begun distributing a batch of vaccine kits to healthcare workers and local health departments.
More than 1 million doses have been given in California alone.
Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the US, and another 500,000 doses are planned to be distributed across New York state, where the first batch of doses was distributed in November.
Despite the uncertainty over how long the vaccine will take to reach all US communities, Dr D’Apostino said that, with the vaccination now on track, “we don’t see a serious shortage of vaccines in the next year”.
In the US the number of cases of coronavirus has increased in recent months.
At least two people have died in the state of California after catching the virus from infected dogs and a third has been hospitalized with a life-threatening infection.
A number of states, including New York, New Jersey and Vermont, have also declared states of emergency.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it was calling on all countries to deploy the WHO’s coronaviral vaccine to protect their populations from another pandemic outbreak.
WHO’s director-general, Margaret Chan, said that despite the vaccine being “one of the most important tools to prevent pandemic transmission”, the vaccine should be used as a last resort to prevent infections that are already under control.
Chan also warned against the use of the “false belief” that the vaccine has a cure-all effect.
In a statement, WHO said the “prevalence of the disease and the need for a vaccine is such that there is an urgent need to protect the population”.
But, Dr Chan added: “No vaccine is perfect.
The vaccine does not stop the disease or cure it.
We are still trying to find out exactly what works, but we have seen that it is working.”
This is not an epidemic, it is an emergency situation.
“Dr D’Agnostino added that it was critical for healthcare workers to be trained in the use and safety of the vaccination, which is also a key part of the prevention efforts.
Some experts are warning that some vaccine manufacturers are preparing vaccines that contain a dangerous chemical called thimerosal, which some experts say is a danger to children.But Dr