Anthony Fauci (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )
Fauci also said that he was pleased with President Donald Trump's recent coronavirus press conferences, saying Trump was advising people to wear masks and practice social distancing in a 'short, crisp' manner.
US top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday that while a vaccine may be determined "safe" by December of this year, he didn't expect it to be "widely available" until a few months into 2021.
"I think as we get into 2021, several months in, that you would have a vaccine that would be widely available to people in the United States," he told the Washington Post.
Fauci also said that he was pleased with President Donald Trump's recent coronavirus press conferences, saying Trump was advising people to wear masks and practice social distancing in a "short, crisp" manner.
He stressed that there are still questions to be answered about the novel coronavirus. He hopes to get some answers by December from a study about how frequently children get infected and whether they spread infection to adults.
His statement comes as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines on the reopening of schools, clearly weighting its recommendations in favor of having students return to their classrooms in fall.
With the virus still rampant in many parts of the country, a number of cities including Houston and Los Angeles have already announced that schools will reopen virtually.
As of Friday afternoon, there were some 4,054,802 reported cases and 144,333 fatalities from COVID-19 in the United States, according to a Reuters tally.
(With input from agencies)