BOSTON (CBS) –Tal Zaks, the medical director of the Cambridge-based biotech company Moderna, says “We’re ready.”

“By the end of this year we expect to have approximately 20 million doses ready to ship in the US,” he said.

The news came during a conference call Thursday morning, in which executives announced they’re ready to dole out the potential COVID-19 vaccine Moderna calls MRNA-1273. They said they’re in the last stages of a trial involving 30,000 volunteers.

Is the public ready to line up for shots?

“Most likely, yes,” said Brendan Lownsbury, of Natick.

Others are hesitant.

“I might tend to prefer to wait a little bit,” said Amy Stowe.

While Moderna says it already has $1.1 billion in pre-order deposits, experts say the actual roll-out could take as long as a year.

According to Massachusetts’ coronavirus distribution plan, the first doses would go to the elderly, to high-risk patients, and to healthcare workers.

“We’ll have to stratify even within that group, who are the healthcare workers at greatest risk,” said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “…nurses who have daily regular contact with patients, people who go in to clean the rooms of those patients, physicians who may be doing intubations.”

He says the rest of the population will have to wait longer.

“It may not be until 2022 until we’re completely back to normal,” said Kuritzkes.

An independent group monitors all vaccine trials, and Moderna says that review is on track to happen within weeks. Then, it will be up to the federal government to authorize distribution.

Christina Hager

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