Michigan’s Dr. Khaldun ‘truly optimistic’ COVID-19 vaccine could be available this fall

State’s top health official believes 'safe, effective’ coronavirus vaccine could be ready this year

Testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – The top health official in the state of Michigan said Wednesday that she’s “truly optimistic” a safe, effective coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine could be available this fall.

“(The year) 2020 has unquestionably been a very difficult year,” Khaldun said. “But we will not be living like this forever. I’m truly optimistic that a safe and effective vaccine will be developed, and maybe be available this fall."

READ: How COVID-19 cases are trending in all 8 Michigan regions

Khaldun said there are promising signs that some people might benefit from new treatments, such as the antiviral drug Remdesivir or steroids.

“We’re going to get through this, but we need to all step up and slow the spread of this disease together,” Khaldun said. “Wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, and please, this season, get your flu shot.”

Khaldun’s comments come one day after Dr. Anthony Fauci talked about the realistic timeline for a COVID-19 vaccine. Fauci said he’s still optimistic about a vaccine by the end of the year, but that the logistics of getting hundreds of millions of people vaccinated could push normalcy into 2021.

“When we get a vaccine, let’s say, available at the end of the year, there will be millions and tens of millions of doses available,” Fauci said. "It won’t be until we get into 2021 that you’ll have have hundreds of millions of doses, and just the logistics constraints in vaccinating large numbers of people. It’s going to take months to get enough people vaccinated to have an umbrella of immunity over the community so that you don’t have to worry about easy transmission.

“It’s not going to be turning a switch off and turning a switch on. It’s going to be gradual, and I think it’s going to take several months before we get to the point where we can really feel something that approximates how it was normally before COVID-19.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.