People over 75, important workers’ turn

The developments came as the nation tried to launch a vaccination program that began only last week and has so far given initial shots to about 556,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first shipments of the second COVID-19 vaccine approved in the US left a distribution center on Sunday. This has been a much-needed boost as the nation works to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.

The trucks left the Olive Branch, Mississippi, factory near Memphis, Tennessee, carrying the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health. The much-needed shots are expected to be handed in starting Monday, just three days after the Food and Drug Administration approves their emergency rollout.

In Louisville, Kentucky, UPS driver Todd Elble said his vaccine shipment was “the most important load I’ve pulled in a 37-year career.” His parents contracted COVID-19 in November and his 78-year-old father has died. He said the family speculated that his father became infected while on a hunting trip with four other relatives to Wyoming and that some were still sick.

“I’ll take the vaccine myself. I’ll come first for my father – I’ll tell you – and anyone else who should follow,” he said. “I feel in my heart that everyone should to stop this.” He added, “To bring that back, I feel like Dad was in the truck with me today.”

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the federal government’s chief scientific advisor to vaccine distribution efforts, said on CNN’s State of the Union that nearly 8 million doses will be distributed Monday, about 5.9 million of the Moderna vaccine and 2 million of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine. He said the first Moderna recordings should be made on Monday morning.

Also on Sunday, a committee of experts began to consider who should stand in line for early doses of the Moderna vaccine and the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech in Germany. Pfizer’s shots were first sent out a week ago and used the next day to kick off the country’s largest vaccination campaign.

Public health experts say the shots – and others in the pipeline – are the only way to stop a virus spreading wildly. Nationwide, an average of more than 219,000 people a day test the virus, which has killed over 316,000 in the United States and nearly 1.7 million people worldwide.

Slaoui also predicted the US will see “a sustained surge”, with the possibility of a greater number of coronavirus cases due to Christmas gatherings.

“Unfortunately, I think it’s getting worse,” he said.

The Pfizer and Moderna recordings that have been shipped to date will almost all be sent to health professionals and nursing home residents in the next few weeks, based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Vaccination Practices.

There won’t be enough shots for the general population by spring, so cans will be rationed for at least the next few months. President-elect Joe Biden promised earlier this month to distribute 100 million doses in his first 100 days in office, and his candidate for surgeon general said Sunday that it was still a realistic goal.

But Vivek Murthy said on NBC’s Meet the Press that it was more realistic to believe that it could be midsummer or early fall before coronavirus vaccines are available to the general population rather than late spring.

Murthy said Biden’s team was working to make the footage available to those at lower risk by late spring, but that “everything went according to plan”. “I think it’s more realistic to assume that it might be closer to midsummer or early fall when this vaccine makes its way into the general population,” Murthy said. “So we want to be optimistic, but we also want to be careful.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s surgeon-general Jerome Adams defended the government’s handling of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday for “misunderstandings” with states on Saturday, one day after the Army’s general charge of receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the US Apologized about the number of doses to be administered had been delivered in the early stages of sales. At least a dozen states said they would receive a smaller second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine than they had previously been told.

Gen Gustave Perna told reporters on a telephone briefing that he had made mistakes in listing the number of cans he believed were ready. Slaoui said the bug assumes the vaccines being manufactured will be ready to ship with a two-day delay.

“And if it’s not entirely right, we won’t release vaccine doses for use,” he said. “And sometimes there were small hiccups. There weren’t really any in production at the moment. The hiccups were more being planned.”

But Adams said on CBS ‘Face the Nation that “the numbers will go up and down”. “It was absolutely not bad planning,” he said. “There is what we plan. There is what we actually assign. There is what is delivered and then what is actually put into people’s arms.”

This story was published by a wire agency feed with no changes to the text. Only the heading was changed.

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