HHS Secretary says COVID-19 vaccine, treatment may be ‘weeks away’

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Health and Human Services Director Alex Azar said Sunday that antibody treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus could be just “weeks away.”

“Hang in there with us. We are so close,” Azar told NBC’s “Meet the Press” as he warned of “mitigation fatigue” from “tired” Americans giving up on safety measures.

“We are weeks away from monoclonal antibodies for you, for safe and effective vaccines,” he said, urging viewers to help “bridge the gap” by maintaining mask-wearing and social distancing until then.

“The American people have given so much,” he told host Chuck Todd. “They’ve been locked down. They’ve been isolated and they’re tired. But the point is we’re so close.”

Azar said the US was on track to get “safe therapeutics and safe vaccines in historic record time.”

He noted how Manhattan-based drug company Pfizer announced Friday that it hopes to seek emergency use for its potential vaccine next month.

“This is incredible, historic news … that we ought to be celebrating and have a great sense of optimism for,” he said.

Being so close should also be a “recommitment” to safety measures to help “reduce cases, reduce hospitalizations [and] reduce fatalities” until then, he said.

“We need to bridge to that day, so please just give us a bit more time of your individual, responsible behavior of washing your hands, watch your distance [and] wear your face coverings when you can’t watch your distance,” he said.

“Just keep your guard up. Hang in there with us, because the days are bright ahead,” he insisted.

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