I’m Pleased That I Was So Wrong About the Vaccine Timeline

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I'm Pleased That I Was So Wrong About the Vaccine Timeline

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

We weren’t supposed to have a vaccine by now. Less than a year ago, I wrote a story with the headline, “It Will Probably Take Longer Than 12 to 18 Months to Get a Vaccine.” This wasn’t an off-the-cuff take, or a hunch—it was based on interviews with experts and a whole lot of reading. I was trying to provide a measured guide to how experts were thinking about the timeline for inoculations, beyond predictions that kept giving us whiplash (and, I worried, false hope). Those predictions were splashy: In March of 2020, Anthony Fauci was saying that it would “take at least a year to a year in a half to have a vaccine we can use”; soon after, he went on the Today show estimating that January of the following year would be “doable if things fall in the right place.” Headlines repeating the optimism abounded.

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