Breaking News
More () »

When will the average American be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The first doses of the vaccine are only available to healthcare workers and may not be widely available until spring of 2021.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People are officially getting the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination after the first shipments were delivered to hospitals across the United States Monday.

The Charlotte area received its first delivery of the vaccine Monday when it arrive at Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center. 

But right now, it’s just available for healthcare workers and nursing home residents. The average, healthy American will have to wait a little longer. 

So how much longer will it be until the general U.S. population gets the shot? The answer really depends on who you ask. 

Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says by late February and early March it will be as easy as getting the flu shot, with stores like Walmart and Walgreen’s giving the vaccine to the general population. 

RELATED: Gov. Cooper to address COVID-19 response one day after vaccines arrive in North Carolina

This is, of course, after members of the high-risk population get their vaccination.

Azar’s timeline is slightly different than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who says most people will have to wait until April before they get treated. 

RELATED: Fauci says to give COVID-19 vaccine to Biden, Harris, Trump, Pence

Dr. Fauci says that would mean approaching herd immunity by next fall. 

Dr. Fauci is hopeful that’s when we can start easing off some of the public safety measures, like face masks and social distancing. But health experts do estimate close to 70% of the American population will have to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity and that could take quite some time.