A vaccine could mean a turning point in the fight against a novel coronavirus that has infected at least 7.8 million people in the United States, killed more than 214,000 nationwide and unraveled aspects of most everyone’s lives.
But approving a vaccine quickly is complex. And distributing it to some 330 million Americans, and to other countries, will require a feat of logistics.
Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine effort.
What’s the timeline?
It depends on two main factors: how long the vaccines take to develop and get approved, and how quickly they can be manufactured and distributed.
Experts say multiple vaccines are needed to immunize the U.S. population. Clinical trials on several vaccine candidates could soon have produced enough data to assess whether they’re effective.
Moderna and Pfizer are farthest along, with vaccines deep into phase 3 clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people,