Surgeon general nominee gives his timeline for public vaccinations

Dr. Vivek Murthy (Meet the Press/NBC)

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for surgeon general believes that a more "realistic" timeline will see the coronavirus vaccine distributed to the public starting midsummer 2021.

Dr. Vivek Murthy cautioned that the Trump administration's timeline, which would see general public access to the vaccine as early as April 2021, is possible but would require everything to go right. 

Closeup of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine in a medical syringe. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"I think when it comes to the vaccine timeline, we all want the vaccine to be delivered as quickly, as fairly as possible, and you can be sure that every day and night, myself and others on the Biden team are working toward that end," Murthy told NBC’s Chuck Todd during Sunday’s "Meet the Press." "But we also want to be realistic about the timeline."

"I think that if everything goes well, we may see a circumstance whereby late spring, people who are lower risk categories can get the vaccine, but that would really require everything to go exactly on schedule," he said.

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"I think it’s more realistic to assume that it may be closer to midsummer or early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population."

Biden, however, made a pledge of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days – a pledge Murthy downplayed when asked if that timeline was more realistic.

"Is it doable? Yes, I think we can do it, but [what] we’ve got to do is prepare and be ready to execute," Murthy said, shifting the focus to being ready to deliver the vaccine.

Murthy claimed that he and "others on the Biden team" were working with suppliers and the Trump administration to make that they can deliver the vaccines when ready.

"This is going to be the most aggressive and ambitious vaccination campaign we’ve attempted in this country’s history, and that’s why we’re ready on day one," Murthy said.

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