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COVID-19 vaccine distribution could begin mid-December

The coronavirus vaccine will first go to health care workers, the elderly and those living with underlying health conditions.

SEATTLE — Days after Pfizer and Biontech applied for FDA emergency approval, we found out the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could be weeks away.

"Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December," said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser of Operation Warp Speed. 

He says on this timeline, 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of the year. The first in line for the vaccine will be health care workers, the elderly and those living with underlying health conditions. 

"My expectation is that this vaccine will be as safe as all the other vaccines that are being used in the population," Dr. Slaoui said.

RELATED: What does emergency use for a COVID-19 vaccine mean?

Another breakthrough happened this weekend – the FDA approved Regeneron's antibody treatment for emergency use. It gives people with mild symptoms a boost to fight the virus. The hope is that it will reduce the burden on hospitals.

The Regeneron treatment was the same cocktail of therapies given to President Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with the virus.

Still, with all this promising news, we're not out of the woods yet. Health experts still caution against gathering this Thanksgiving to prevent more deaths.

"If even 1% of the 50 million people who are traveling for Thanksgiving transmit or get this virus, we're looking at an extra 500,000 cases across the country," said Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency physician at Brown University. "This is the year to stay home."

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