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Vaccines won't curb COVID-19 spread in US until late spring, White House report says

A White House coronavirus task force report says vaccines won't substantially reduce COVID-19 spread, hospitalizations or deaths until 100 million are immunized.

WASHINGTON — While the U.S. is on track to approve its first coronavirus vaccine in the coming days, the White House coronavirus task force is warning states that the immunizations alone won't alter the course of the pandemic in the U.S. until well into the spring. 

“The current vaccine implementation will not substantially reduce viral spread, hospitalizations, or fatalities until the 100 million Americans with comorbidities can be fully immunized, which will take until the late spring,” the task force report sent to governors and obtained by multiple media outlets said. 

The first coronavirus vaccine, from drugmaker Pfizer, is expected to be endorsed by a panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers as soon as this week, with the delivery of 100 million doses — enough for 50 million Americans — expected in the coming months.

"Large-scale benefits of lower deaths and hospitalizations will only come after months of immunization," the weekly task force report added. "Difficult but temporary changes in personal behavior are key to limiting disease and death until we bring the pandemic to an end with immunization; this messaging must be delivered frequently and by all effective modalities."

The task force recently warned that the coronavirus "risk to all Americans is at a historic high" and urged Americans under 40 years old who saw people outside their household for Thanksgiving to assume they're infected.  

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England began its first vaccinations earlier Tuesday, to great fanfare, as the world mounts its fight against the pandemic that has killed more than 285,000 Americans and some 1.5 million people worldwide.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.