^
One million vaccinated but US officials admit rollout behind schedule
Leonida Lipshy, RN in the COVID unit at the Broward Health Medical Center shows off a bottle of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a press conference on December 23, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Broward Health Medical Center began vaccinating frontline healthcare workers last week with the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine and are continuing to inoculate frontline caregivers with both of the vaccines after the arrival of the Moderna.
AFP/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One million vaccinated but US officials admit rollout behind schedule

(Agence France-Presse) - December 24, 2020 - 1:07pm

WASHINGTON, United States — More than a million Americans have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccines, a milestone in the biggest immunization drive in US history that came even as officials admitted the pace of rollout was slipping behind schedule.

The news comes as the winter surge in cases rages across the country, where the virus has claimed more than 320,000 lives and is on course to be the third leading cause of death in the year.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said jurisdictions had logged the first million shots with his agency since the biggest immunization drive in US history kicked off on December 14.

"While we celebrate this historic milestone, we also acknowledge the challenging path ahead," said Redfield. 

"There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the US, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come."

Some three million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were shipped last week, and the official goal for this week was two million more Pfizer doses, and six million from Moderna.

Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor of the government's Operation Warp Speed, said the objective of injecting 20 million people this month was "unlikely to be met," adding that a delay was beginning to emerge between doses being distributed to sites and the shots reaching arms.

Even so, he remained confident of being able to inoculate 100 million people in the first quarter of 2021, and another 100 million by the second quarter.

While the goals are ambitious, the Warp Speed program has already delivered on its objective of bringing vaccines from the lab bench to authorization within the space of the year.

Many experts doubted this unprecedented feat was possible. 

It required running the various stages of testing in parallel and mass producing doses even before they were proven safe and effective, in case they succeeded.  

Summer weddings?

If the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines proceeds smoothly, it might be possible to achieve widespread population immunity in the United States by next summer, top infectious disease official Anthony Fauci has said.

In an interview with WebMD posted Wednesday, Fauci suggested people could host weddings as early as June or July.

He said he believed priority populations — such as nursing home residents, health care workers, critical workers, the elderly and people at high risk — should receive their shots by March or early April.

"We could start in April doing what I call 'open season' on vaccinations — namely anybody in the general population who wants to get vaccinated will get vaccinated."

He continued: "By the time we get into the middle or end of the summer, I believe we will have, if we do it correctly, we could have 70 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated. 

"When that occurs, there will be an umbrella of protection over the entire country."

Pfizer deal finalized

Also Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it had purchased an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with the shots set to be delivered by July.

That brings the current US supply of COVID-19 vaccine to 400 million doses — half from Pfizer and half from Moderna — allowing the country to immunize 200 million people under the two-shot regimens.

The agreement includes options for an additional 400 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 

The US and other countries are also hoping for more vaccines to be approved, with products from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca potentially next in line.

When it comes to vaccination priority, long-term care residents and health workers are at the front of the line.

On Sunday, an expert committee said people 75 and older should be the next vaccinated along with 30 million "frontline essential workers," including teachers, grocery store employees and police.

But the southern state of Florida, home to a high number of retirees, decided on another way, announcing Wednesday that people over age 65 would go before essential 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 the over-65s, who make up 20 percent of the state's population.

They can start getting inoculations on Monday.

COVID-19 VACCINES MODERNA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PFIZER UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 16, 2021 - 5:21pm

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

April 16, 2021 - 5:21pm

The European Union is very unlikely to renew its COVID-19 vaccine contracts with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, a French minister says.

Denmark this week banned the use of AstraZeneca jabs over blood clot concerns, just as the EU said it was expecting 50 million Pfizer vaccine doses earlier than expected.

No final EU decision had been taken, French Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher tells RMC radio, but "it is highly probable" that no further AstraZeneca doses would be ordered. — AFP

April 16, 2021 - 1:03pm

The head of Pfizer says in an interview that  people will "likely" need a third dose of his company's COVID-19 shot within six to 12 months of vaccination, while elsewhere defending the relatively higher cost of the jab.

CEO Albert Bourla also says annual vaccinations against the coronavirus may well be required.

"We need to see what would be the sequence, and for how often we need to do that, that remains to be seen," Bourla tells CNBC in an interview. — AFP

April 15, 2021 - 8:36am

A pause on all US vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson Covid shot will continue for at least another week after members of a government-convened expert panel said Wednesday they needed more time to assess its possible links to a clotting disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a meeting a day after authorities reported six cases of women developing brain clots along with low blood platelet counts, including one death, within two weeks of people getting the one-dose Covid-19 vaccine. 

The shot has been given to some 7.2 million Americans, and participants at the meeting were told on Wednesday a seventh case involving a 28-year-old woman has been identified. —  AFP

April 14, 2021 - 6:46pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he has received the second dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus and said he hopes Russians follow his example.

"I want to inform you that right now, before entering this room, I also received the second vaccination," he said at a televised meeting. "I assume that you, taking care of yourself and your loved ones, will do the same and follow my example." — AFP

April 13, 2021 - 2:51pm

A leading local drugmaker says India has authorized the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in a boost for the nation's inoculation drive as infection rates soar to record highs.

Russia's Sputnik V is the third vaccine to be approved by India after the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and Covaxin, which was developed by Indian firm Bharat Biotech.

"We are very pleased to obtain the emergency use authorisation for Sputnik V in India," says G.V. Prasad, co-chair of pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy's Laboratories, in a statement. — AFP

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with