The first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States from Michigan to distribution centers across the country, with the first shots expected next week for health care workers and nursing homes.
Pfizer vaccine shipments will launch the largest vaccination effort in American history at a critical juncture to the pandemic that has killed 1.6 million people and infected 71 million worldwide.
Initially, about 3 million doses were expected to be dispatched, and the priority is healthcare workers and residents in nursing homes as infections, hospitalizations and deaths are high in the United States, the numbers are likely to get worse during the holidays, and the vaccine offers a great experience. In the battle against a pandemic that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.
Federal officials say the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will reach 145 distribution centers on Monday, with 425 additional sites receiving deliveries on Tuesday, and the remaining 66 on Wednesday. The vaccine, co-developed by German partner Biotech, is being distributed based on the adult population in each state.
Dr. Graham Snyder, who led the center’s vaccination team, said the Pennsylvania healthcare giant UPMC has picked the critical employees to operate its facilities from among those getting the first round of vaccinations.
“It’s very exciting.” Snyder said on Saturday, “I’ll be happy, that moment when we give our first dose.” “Obviously, that would be a watershed moment for us.”
Snyder said the UPMC system estimates that half of its employees are ready to get the vaccine once it is offered to them.
The vaccine is heading to hospitals and other locations that can store it in extremely low temperatures – around 94 degrees below zero. Pfizer uses containers with dry ice and sensors that support GPS to ensure every shipment stays cooler than the weather in Antarctica.
Federal officials said doses should be delivered to all state vaccination sites, such as local pharmacies, within three weeks.
The Oceana Health System, which has 40 hospitals in Louisiana and Mississippi, expects to receive more than 9,000 doses in the coming days, said Dr. Sandra Kimberley, Medical Director for Hospital Quality.
She said employees who are approved in the first round receive texts and emails directing them to schedule an initial injection.
“I would say there is enthusiasm,” Kimberley said on Saturday. “There is a belief that they might not have to fear coming to work if they could be vaccinated and gain immunity.”
The deployment will ensure there is enough vaccine to give people the two doses they need to fully protect against COVID-19. This means that the government is refraining from 3 million doses to give the two vaccines in the first round and a second dose after a few weeks.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for emergency use on Friday, saying it is very preventive and does not pose major safety issues. As US regulators worked for months to emphasize the rigor and independence of their review, they faced political pressure through to the final stages.
Fears about rushing to get vaccinated could undermine vaccination efforts in a country where some are skeptical of vaccines. The head of the FDA said the agency’s decision was based on science rather than policy, despite the White House threatening to fire him if the vaccine was not approved before Saturday.
Speaking on Sunday to Fox News, Dr. Moncef El-Salawi, chief scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed, an American effort to rapidly develop vaccines, said he was “extremely concerned” about doubts about the vaccine in some quarters.
“Unfortunately, there was a lot of politics in the course of developing this vaccine, and there was a confusion between how comprehensive, scientific and realistic the work that was done was, and the perception that people are thinking that we cut corners or something like that,” El-Slaoui said. These things and those we follow science. “
He described vaccine development from several pharmaceutical companies, including Modern and AstraZeneca, as “a remarkable achievement for science, academia, the industrial ecosystem and the US government, working together.”
While the vaccine has been determined to be safe, regulators in the UK are investigating many severe allergic reactions. Food and Drug Administration instructions require service providers not to give it to those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any of its ingredients.
Another vaccine will be reviewed by Moderna by a panel of experts next week and soon after that it could be allowed for use by the public.