University of Minnesota infectious disease expert says ‘real possibility’ COVID-19 vaccine arrives by Christmas

University of Minnesota infectious disease expert, Dr. Michael Osterholm, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS two vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna pharmaceutical companies have a very good chance of receiving emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and could be used in Minnesota very soon.

“I actually think there is a real possibility that a vaccine will be available here for health care providers and high-risk people in Minnesota within the next four weeks,” Dr. Osterholm said. “It will be the first dose of what will be many that we’re going to need to vaccinate health care workers and the rest of the population.”

Pfizer to seek emergency vaccine approval Friday

Osterholm told KSTP those early vaccinations would cover about 40% of the population, which means there is a strong possibility the rest of the nation would start receiving vaccines by the second or third quarter of 2021 if long-term FDA approval is given.

“So, it is a large segment of the population getting this vaccine in the earliest days,” Osterholm said. “My dream is that we have enough people vaccinated and we can really start to consider a day when we can go to a Twins game without a mask on and we can enjoy having our kids and grandkids with us and I hope that can happen this summer.”

Full KSTP COVID-19 coverage

Osterholm said the next big challenge will be convincing people to get the vaccination by convincing them it is safe.

“I myself cannot wait to get the vaccine and I will wait my turn in line because there are others at higher risk than me,” said Osterholm. “But, I cannot wait for that moment and I will surely encourage all my loved ones, my family, my friends and my colleagues to get the vaccine, too.”