A historic push to finally get the coronavirus under control. Starting Monday, places in the U.S. will be administering their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine. The doses were shipped out of Pfizer’s facility in Michigan today.
The director for the Centers for Disease Control has accepted the agency’s recommendation for the vaccine being given to people 16 or older.
This comes after the FDA granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer and Bio-N-Tech’s vaccine on Friday.
According to officials, the vaccine will go to around 600 sites across the U.S. in the coming days.
This is just part of an overall plan to distribute 40 million vaccine doses by the end of the year.
These efforts come at a critical time during the pandemic, when hospitalizations in the U.S. hits record levels and a surge in new cases impacts areas all across the country.
The race is on to vaccinate as many Americans as possible against COVID-19. Speaking today, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said they’re tracking the amount of vaccine from each manufacturer.
“So we’ll be getting more and more Pfizer product, and we’ve got a 12 and a half million of Moderna product. Assuming that we get approval at the end of this week on Moderna that we’ll ship out very soon thereafter. So 20 million vaccinations this, this month. And then we think we’ll be up to 50 million total vaccinations of, of people by the end of January and a hundred million shots in arms by the end of February, just with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” said Azar.
The focus will then be on how soon the U.S. can get to what is called herd immunity among the population.
“So we need to have immunized about 75% or 80% of the U.S. population before herd immunity can really be established. We hope to reach that point between the month of May and the month of June. It is, however, critical that most of the American people decide and accept to take the vaccine,” said Chief Scientific Advisor of Operation Warp Speed Dr. Moncef Slaoui.
The companies like Pfizer are saying they’re confident the shipment will go out safely and kept at the proper temperature to keep the vaccine safe.
“I couldn’t be more confident in the distribution of the vaccine. We’ve worked very hard together during many months doing test shipments, improving our shippers, making sure they can maintain temperature during the entire journey. And we’re very happy with the solution,” said Pfizer Global Supply President Mike McDermott.
Even after the first few million doses of the vaccine are administered, you can still expect pushes for social distancing and mask wearing until herd immunity is achieved.