Covid-19 vaccine en route to every state as health officials say they hope immunizations begin Monday

12 月 14, 2020World News

December 14, 2020

Thousands of vials of the long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine are slated to arrive in all 50 states Monday, as top US health officials express hope that health care workers can begin administering the injections immediately.

The news comes after the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine cleared its final hurdle: Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accepted an advisory committee’s recommendation Saturday that the vaccine may be given to people 16 and older, meaning it can now be administered in the United States.
In a statement issued Sunday, Redfield announced he had accepted the recommendation from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The first vaccinations are “set to start as early as Monday,” he said.
“This is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country,” he said in a statement.
Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, too, said his “greatest hope and desire” is that the vaccinations begin Monday.
“My hope, again, is that this happens very expeditiously, hopefully tomorrow,” Hahn told CNN on Sunday. “We’ve seen the vaccines go out. We’ve seen the press reports of hospitals waiting to vaccinate health care workers and those most vulnerable.”
The decision comes the same day that the first batch of vaccines was loaded onto trucks at a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, and shipped out across the country.
Freight trucks carrying about 184,275 vials of vaccine departed the plant, and the combined 189 boxes of vaccine vials are expected to arrive in all 50 states Monday.
Another 3,900 vials are expected to ship later Sunday to United States territories, and 400 boxes packed with about 390,000 vials will ship Monday to arrive Tuesday. There are five doses of vaccine per vial, according to Pfizer.
The excitement surrounding the shipment even brought out small groups of cheering spectators. At Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the vaccine was loaded onto a FedEx cargo plane, Vicki Royce and her husband gathered outside the facility.
“This is so exciting. This is history!” Royce said. “The first vaccines are going out. I’m like crying here.”
From its origin in Michigan, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will arrive to about 600 sites across the US in the coming days.
“It’s a very good day for America — and for the world,” Moncef Slaoui, head of US coronavirus vaccine efforts, told Fox News Sunday.
The FDA granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine Friday, and the CDC’s ACIP voted Saturday to recommend it for people age 16 and older. The CDC vaccine advisory committee recommended that health care workers and long-term care facility residents be first in line to receive the shot.
The US plans to distribute 40 million vaccine doses by year’s end, followed by 50 to 80 million doses in January and in February, according to Slaoui.
“All in all, we hope to have immunized 100 million people” by the end of the first quarter of 2021, Slaoui said on Fox News Sunday.
The vaccine arrives at a critical moment for the US. Covid-19 hospitalizations hit record highs for the seventh day in a row Saturday. With the winter holidays still ahead, experts warn that the pandemic could continue to get worse before the larger public receives the vaccination.
Covid-19 vaccines are packaged at the Pfizer facility on Sunday.

Experts including Hahn and members of the CDC’s ACIP have said they have faith in the evaluation of the vaccine.
“I do believe that the process that we have used here in the ACIP to reach this decision is transparent, is science based, keeps equity in mind and is, for this moment, the absolute best that we can do,” said ACIP member Dr. Beth Bell, a clinical professor of global health at the University of Washington.
American Medical Association President Dr. Susan Bailey said in a statement Saturday the biggest obstacle to the vaccine is people’s willingness to be vaccinated.
“To be clear, these vaccines will reduce death and severe illness. They have been rigorously evaluated, and if enough of us roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated, we can eventually reclaim normalcy,” she said.

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