WASHINGTON: The nation's first COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in states Monday (Dec 14) morning, US officials said Saturday, after the government gave the final go-ahead to the shots needed to end an outbreak that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.
Trucks will roll out Sunday morning as shipping companies UPS and FedEx begin delivering Pfizer’s vaccine to nearly 150 distribution centres across the states, said Army General Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine development programme. An additional 425 sites will get shipments Tuesday, and the remaining 66 on Wednesday.
Initially, about 3 million doses were expected to be shipped nationwide. It was unclear exactly who would receive the first shots, though healthcare workers and nursing home residents were the priority. Perna said health authorities would decide.
A similar number of shots will be held back for those recipients’ second dose, which is needed for full protection from COVID-19.
The announcement Saturday kicks off a massive logistical operation involving the federal and state governments, private companies and health care workers to quickly distribute limited vaccine supplies throughout the US. It offers hope in a country grappling with surging COVID-19 infections and deaths, which are overwhelming hospitals and raising fears that things will only get worse as people gather over the holidays.