When will a vaccine be available to protect people from COVID-19?  If things go well, it could be sooner than later.  At least one manufacturer is in the late stages of their study.

According to WIVB, Johnson & Johnson is beginning a huge final study today to see if their vaccine will help to prevent people from contracting the virus.

There are other U.S. companies like Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.that are also moving forward with their testing and the hope is that someone will have an answer by the end of the year.

Don't read that wrong though, even if everything goes perfectly, that doesn't mean that we will be able to get a shot and be immune from the virus by the end of the year.  Once it's approved, it will still have to be manufactured on a large scale and then will be distributed to people differently.  People who are on the front lines (medical professionals/first responders, etc.) will likely get the vaccine first.

The concern for a lot of people is that we are in such a rush to come up with an answer to this thing that we will overlook some of the dangers that could be involved with these vaccines.  However, health officials insist that they aren't cutting any corners to get people protected:

“We want to do everything we can without sacrificing safety or efficacy — we’re not going to do that — to make sure that we end up with vaccines that are going to save lives,” -- Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health

The study is using around 60,000 volunteers in the U.S., South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.  Instead of two separate shots (like other studies are using) it would only require one and could give us answers by early next year.