Even With A Vaccine, 'Normal' Is Several Months Away At Best

Published: Saturday, December 5, 2020 - 8:49pm

Arizona has plans to distribute nearly 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers and nursing home residents as soon as it becomes available, but it could likely be several months before the general public can get the shot. 

Dr. Shad Marvasti from the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix says that’s cause for optimism — but he cautions that much of 2021 will still require social distancing and mask wearing. 

"Hopefully if we do that, if we can be strong in this resolve, then we can get back to some kind of normal life post-vaccination, later I would say in 2021," Marvasti said. "Realistically, the majority of people aren’t going to have access to this vaccine until late spring or early summer."

Arizona Department of Health Services director Doctor Cara Christ says the state expects its first shipment of vaccines by the middle of December.

"While we don't know exactly when enough vaccine will be available for everyone who chooses to get vaccinated, we do know that the federal government will be shipping limited doses of vaccines to states somewhere around the week of Dec. 15," Christ said.

Both Marvasti and Christ said it would be several months before the vaccine would be available to the general public, but they expect that to happen a few months into 2021.

"The second half of 2021, or the end of 2021 is probably the soonest that we can go back to some semblance of a normal life," Marvasti said.

The most promising vaccine candidates are awaiting final approval from the FDA, which could come as early as next week.

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