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Coronavirus vaccine expectations might be getting unrealistic

Some experts think there's been a communication problem when it comes to potential coronavirus vaccines, which has led to unrealistic expectations among the general population, Stat News reports.

That doesn't mean they aren't hopeful, or even optimistic, that one of the many vaccines in development will prove effective. The confusion is more about how widely available doses will be, if and when one is in production. "I don't think we're communicating very well at all with the public, because I keep having to tell these people, you know, even if we had a vaccine that showed some evidence of protection by September, we are so far from having a vaccine in people's arms," said Michael Osterholm, the director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy.

If something is ready by September, like the vaccines being tested by Pfizer or the University of Oxford, they would likely only be available for emergency use, and health care workers would seemingly get the first batch of doses, Stat reports.

Production capacity will be a major holdup — companies are working rapidly to find a vaccine, and will continue to do so when making doses (which many argue should begin even before a potential vaccine is proven to work), but the sheer number of people who will require a vaccine, there's a long way to go; demand will far outweigh supply for a while. "I don't think that the general population will have a vaccine probably until the second half of 2021," said Robin Robinson, who formerly led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. "And that's if everything goes OK." Read more at Stat News.