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ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary For Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services (Reuters)
ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary For Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services (Reuters)

Top US health official says third Covid-19 vaccine could come next month

  • Assistant US Health Secretary expects Johnson & Johnson and Janssen to seek approval in January
  • An ambitious target to get 20 mn Americans started with their first shot of the two-dose vaccine regimen before end of 2020 could slip into first week of January, US Army General Gustave Perna told reporters on Saturday

A third vaccine to stave off COVID-19 could get US approval as early as next month, a top U.S. health official said on Sunday as the second vaccine began shipping out nationwide..

Admiral Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, told ABC News that data was yet to be released on the novel coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson and Janssen, but that if approved it would give the United States its third vaccine following ones from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc.

He said US officials are very hopeful that three Covid-19 vaccines will be available by next month, with more to come.

He also said that the government is working with Abbott to increase production of swabs used in Covid-19 tests.

Giroir said he sees no reason for alarm as of now over new strain of Covid-19 that surfaced in UK.

In the 11 months since the first cases of the new coronavirus were documented in the United States, COVID-19 has killed 311,000 Americans, by far the most in the world, and put millions out of work, with unemployment rising.

Shipments of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine began leaving warehouses early on Sunday, heading for healthcare facilities around the United States in a push to distribute the second approved coronavirus vaccine.

The distribution of Moderna's vaccine to more than 3,700 locations in the United States will vastly widen the rollout started last week by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE.

U.S. COVID-19 vaccine program head Moncef Slaoui said it was most likely the first Moderna vaccine shot, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, would be given on Monday morning.

"We look forward to the vaccine. It's going to be slightly easier to distribute because it doesn't require as low (a) temperature as Pfizer," Slaoui said on CNN.

The U.S. government plans to deliver 5.9 million Moderna shots and 2 million Pfizer shots this week.

But an ambitious target to get 20 million Americans started with their first shot of the two-dose vaccine regimen before the end of the year could slip into the first week of January, U.S. Army General Gustave Perna told reporters on Saturday.

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