WASHINGTON — Progress on a coronavirus vaccine has been quick, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Johnson and Johnson said on Thursday that their candidate for a vaccine has entered the final stage of testing and clinical trials. Their candidate is now the fourth major drug company in the U.S. to develop a coronavirus vaccine to the final stages of testing.
Azar, a former executive at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, said they are on schedule in developing a vaccine.
“By December we’ll have as many as 100 million doses that will be FDA approved,” Azar said. “We would target that vaccine initially to the most vulnerable people. By the end of March, April we would have enough vaccine for all Americans.”
While a COVID-19 vaccine is still in development, Azar continues to stress that you take the proper precautions to slow the spread of the virus. This also includes getting a flu shot.
“It’s important you get vaccinated because we want you as healthy as possible,” said Azar. “We want you to not suffer from the flu, or if you get the flu to reduce the consequences of it. Because we want you as healthy as possible in the event you have to confront COVID.”
As more and more states, cities, and counties begin to open back up from coronavirus restrictions, Azar said the country has seen a 50-percent decline in cases and the same decline in the number of people going to the hospital with the virus.
Just over 1,100 people have died from coronavirus across the U.S. in the last seven days. That is down from when nearly 8,000 people died in a seven day period between Jul. 18 and Jul. 25, according to the numbers from the CDC.