First Covid-19 Vaccine Administered in the U.S.
As the United States nears 300,000 deaths from Covid-19, the first FDA-approved vaccine for the virus is being administered -- to high priority candidates that is. While the U.S. government has pre-purchased hundreds of millions of vaccine doses from various drug companies, only 10 million people are likely to be fully vaccinated, and that’s if Moderna receives FDA approval to be alongside Pfizer.
The FDA authorized emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Friday, December 11th, and priority recipients are now lining up for their vaccinations. Per the CDC’s recommendations, health care workers and long-term care facility residents are to receive the vaccine first. Doctors and nurses may be on the frontlines of battling the coronavirus, but Dr. Jose Romero of the ACIP has also recognized that housekeepers and those who deliver food in these facilities are just as much at risk and therefore are also high priority to receive the vaccine
Among the first recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the U.S. is nurse Sandra Lindsay at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, who Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “didn’t even flinch.” Today hospitals in every state will begin vaccinating healthcare workers, and CVS will soon begin administering vaccinations in long-term care facilities by December 21st at the earliest.
According to US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the FDA is on track to make a decision on a separate, promising vaccine Moderna in the next few days. If Moderna is approved for immediate use, millions more could be vaccinated in the next coming weeks, but it is unlikely that the general public will have access to the vaccine any time soon.
Following health care workers and long-term care workers and residents being vaccinated, the CDC is considering essential workers that are at high risk of infection, and those with underlying health conditions as the next candidates for the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that the next few months of vaccines will be focused on “high priority groups.” He projects that April may be when anyone can get vaccinated, but in the meantime people should continue to social distance and wear masks.