By May 2021, US estimates 70% of country’s population to be vaccinated

The head of the United States government’s Coronavirus vaccine effort said on Sunday that they are hoping to initiate a sweeping program of COVID-19 vaccinations in early December, as cases surge across the nation.

Vaccinations could be a crucial turning point in the battle against the virus that has claimed more than 255,000 lives in the US, the world’s highest reported toll.

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“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours of approval,” says Moncef Slaoui of the US Food and Drug Administration.

FDA vaccine advisors reportedly will meet on December 10 to discuss approving vaccines which pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna say are at least 95 percent effective.

Worldwide, nearly 1.4 million people have died this year and at least 58 million cases have been registered cause of the novel Coronavirus.

Moncef Slaoui estimated that 20 million people across the US could be vaccinated in December, with 30 million per month after that.

He added that by May, with potentially 70 percent of the population having been vaccinated, the country could attain “herd immunity,” meaning the virus can no longer spread widely and that people can move closer to resuming their pre-coronavirus way of life.

“I really hope and look forward to seeing that the level of the negative perception of the vaccine decreases and people’s acceptance increase,” Slaoui commented.

A recent Gallup poll showed that four in 10 Americans still say they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, though that is down slightly from five in 10 surveyed in September.