COVID-19 vaccine timeline reckons NFL 2021 season is "possible"

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke this week about the future of COVID-19 and action dates for vaccines in the USA. Dr. Fauci suggested that vaccines going through official approval schedules now will be available to the "highest-priority people" starting from the end of December, 2020. Highest-priority vaccinations will take place through January, February, March, then on to the general public. Per Dr. Fauci, potentially full NFL stadiums in September of 2021 are "possible."

Per a Yahoo!Sports interview with Dr. Fauci, packed (within pre-pandemic reason) stadiums will be among "the last thing[s] that you're gonna see." Given the planned schedule with vaccine approval and distribution right now, full-capacity NBA arenas by July will be "cutting it close."

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An important point Dr. Fauci made during the interview was the human factor – the fact that the US government won't likely mandate any sort of vaccine. It'll be up to each citizen to schedule an appointment (or whatever process will be necessary) to get their own vaccine from a licensed health professional.

"By the time you get to the general public, the people who'll be going to the basketball games, who don't have any underlying conditions, that's gonna be starting the end of April, May, June," said Dr Fauci. "So it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable [with packed stadiums] – if a lot of people get vaccinated."

The emphasis on "if" was made clear in the Yahoo!Sports interview, as well. "I don't think we're going to be that normal in July, said Dr. Fauci. "I think it probably would be by the end of the summer."

This commentary from Dr. Fauci seems to factor in trials like the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (at 90% efficacy) as well as guidance from the FDA on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Fauci also mirrors concerns addressed by the FDA in today's guidance on the Moderna trial process. Just like wearing face masks, this process only really works if everyone makes the effort.