More than a million Americans received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccines, a milestone in the biggest immunization plan in U.S. history that followed even when officials acknowledged that the pace of introduction was lagging behind schedule.
The news comes as a winter rush of cases rages across the country, where the virus has claimed more than 320,000 lives and is on its way the third leading cause of death in a year.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield said jurisdictions have recorded the first million shots fired with his agency since the largest immunization campaign in U.S. history began on Dec. 14.
“While we are celebrating this historic milestone, we also acknowledge the challenging path that follows,” Redfield said.
“Currently, the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is limited in the United States, but the supply will increase in the coming weeks and months.”
Approximately three million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech were delivered last week, and the official target this week was two million more doses of Pfizer and six million from Moderna.
Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to the government’s Warp Speed operation, said the goal of injecting 20 million people this month was “unlikely to be achieved”, adding that a delay began to emerge between the doses distributed to the sites and the shots coming. to arms.
Despite this, he remained confident that he would be able to vaccinate 100 million people in the first quarter of 2021 and another 100 million in the second quarter.
Although the goals are ambitious, the Warp Speed program has already achieved its goal of bringing the vaccine from the lab bench to approval within a year.
Many experts doubted that this unprecedented feat was possible.
It was necessary to run different test phases and mass doses in parallel even before they proved to be safe and effective, in case they succeed.
If the introduction of COVID-19 continues smoothly, it might be possible to achieve widespread population immunity in the United States by next summer, said top infectious disease official Anthony Fauci.
In an interview with WebMD published on Wednesday, Fauci suggested that people could host the wedding as early as June or July.
He said he believes priority populations – such as nursing home residents, health workers, critical workers, the elderly and high-risk people – should receive their injections by March or early April.
“We could start doing what I call the ‘open season’ on vaccinations in April – namely, anyone in the general population who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated.”
He continued: “By the time we get into the middle or end of summer, I believe we will have, if we do it right, we could have vaccinated 70 to 85 per cent of the population.
“When that happens, an umbrella of protection will be placed over the entire country.”
Pfizer’s work finalized
Also Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it had purchased an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, and injections should be delivered by July.
That leads to the current U.S. supply of the COVID-19 vaccine at 400 million doses – half from Pfizer and half from Modern – allowing the country to immunize 200 million people under a double-injection regimen.
The agreement includes options for an additional 400 million doses of Pfizer vaccine.
The United States and other countries are also hoping that more vaccines will be approved, and potentially it is the turn of Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca products.
In terms of vaccination priorities, long-term care residents and health workers come first.
On Sunday, an expert committee said people over the age of 75 should be vaccinated next, along with 30 million “basic foreground workers,” including teachers, grocery store employees and police.
But the southern state of Florida, home to a large number of retirees, decided otherwise, announcing Wednesday that people over the age of 65 will go before basic workers.
“Many of them are very young,” Governor Ron DeSantis said of the workers.
“We’re going where the risk is greatest and where we think the impact will be most consequential,” he said of those over 65, who make up 20 percent of the state’s population.
Injections can start getting on Monday.
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© 2020 AFP
Citation: Million vaccinated, but US officials acknowledge delayed introduction (2020, December 24) downloaded December 24, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-million-vaccinated-rollout.html
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