Critical-care nurses and other front-line health-care workers began receiving the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine Monday, marking a major turning point in the pandemic battle just as the United States passes the horrific milestone of 300,000 coronavirus deaths.
Front-line healthcare providers and nursing home patients and workers are top priority to receive the vaccine. People deemed essential personnel in society, the elderly and people with underlying conditions will form the next level of recipients.
The COVID-19 vaccine should be available to Americans in relatively good health by the spring, though returning to pre-pandemic life remains much further away, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.
“I had been saying, by my calculation, sometime by the end of March, the beginning of April that the normal, healthy man or woman on the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get [the vaccine],” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told MSNBC.
One of the country’s first vaccine doses to be administered outside of a clinical trial went to Sandra Lindsay, a critical-care nurse in Queens, N.Y., which was devastated by COVID-19 cases and deaths in the pandemic’s early months.
“I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history,” Lindsay said after receiving her shot during a livestreamed news conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe — we’re in a pandemic, and so we all need to do our part to put an end to the pandemic and to not give up so soon.”
Health officials have warned that masks and social distancing will still be needed for months to control the currently rampaging outbreak.
U.S. Operation Warp Speed top adviser Moncef Slaoui said the United States hopes to have about 40 million vaccine doses – enough for 20 million people – distributed by the end of this month.
That would include vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna Inc. An outside U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is scheduled to consider the Moderna vaccine on Thursday, with emergency use expected to be granted shortly after.
Sources: MarketWatch, BBC, and The Washington Post; Photo: yahoo.com