Moncef Slaoui, head of a federal vaccine development programme, says the first vaccines could be shipped by mid-December.

Officials have warned that a delay in the presidential transition could affect vaccine distribution [File: Dado Ruvic/Illustration via Reuters]

The head of the United States government’s coronavirus vaccine effort has said that the first doses of an inoculant will “hopefully” be administered by mid-December.

Dr Moncef Slaoui made the comments in an interview with CNN on Sunday, just two days after Pfizer and BioNTech applied for emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their coronavirus vaccine. The companies have said preliminary trials showed the vaccine appeared to be 95 percent effective – putting it well above the usual FDA threshold

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