The U.S. government, with the support of FedEx and the United Parcel Service, has begun the enormous logistical undertaking of delivering millions of vaccine doses across the country.
Trucks containing the first packages of the vaccine are leaving Pfizer’s facility in Michigan today with delivery expected on Monday to sites across all 50 states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the shots should go to front-line health-care workers and residents at long-term care facilities first, where the virus has had a devastating toll.
It’s a race against time to ramp up the vaccine program into a mass inoculation campaign as thousands of people die everyday from Covid-19, with the toll only expected to increase over the holidays.
More than 2,300 deaths were recorded Saturday, following over 3,300 deaths Friday. New infections continue to explode, with more than 219,000 cases reported yesterday.
The following data is from Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 71.8 million
- Global deaths: More than 1.6 million
- U.S. cases: More than 16 million
- U.S. deaths: More than 297,000
HHS chief Azar says 2.9 million doses in first phase, 100 million vaccinations by March
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that 2.9 million doses of the newly-approved Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech are being distributed in the first round of shipments.
“Face the Nation” on Sunday, Azar declined to say how soon those vaccines would actually be administered but predicted it would happen “pretty quickly.”
The 2.9 million doses will be distributed to that many individuals, he said, with the second dose of the vaccine being “reserved.” The vaccine is administered in two doses given 21 days apart.
Azar said if a second vaccine candidate, produced by Moderna, is approved that there would be 20 million vaccinations in December, 50 million by the end of January, and 100 million by the end of February.
The Trump administration will turn power over to President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, but Azar said that he still had confidence in his timeline.
“If they carry forward with the plans that we’ve put in place, 100 million shots in arms by the end of February is very much in scope,” he said.