As clinical trials continue, when might COVID-19 vaccines become available?

As clinical trials continue, when might COVID-19 vaccines become available?
FILE PHOTO: Health officials will administer a trial vaccine for the coronavirus to a patient Monday, The Associated Press reported. (John Moore/Getty Images) (John Moore/Getty Images)

DAYTON — The race for a vaccine appears to be getting closer even as attempts to control the coronavirus appear to move further away.

Several companies are now in final, stage three testing of proposed COVID-19 vaccines with promising results. As clinical trials continue, one local doctor is not sure when the vaccine might be available in large doses, but is explaining how it will be distributed and what groups will get it first.

“One thing that’s evident, health officials will be first to get it because of the risk,” said Dr. Roberto Colón, associate chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital.

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Colón noted that immunizing health care workers first will keep them on the job and safe.

If everything goes quickly and hurdles are removed, some vaccines could be here in large numbers by next month, but companies may not be able to distribute vaccines until the new year.

“The timeline hasn’t been very clear because we don’t know where we are in the FDA approval process,” said Colón.

Colón is encouraged by the 90 percent success rates reported by the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials.

When a vaccine is approved and ready for distribution, doctors say they will need 50 percent of people to be vaccinated just to begin making an impact. To make a substantial difference, at least 70 percent of people will need to receive the vaccine.