United States Begins to Issue COVID-19 Vaccines to High-Risk Health Care Workers

On December 14, 2020 the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines were administered across the United States after months of hearing positive trial results. Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in the intensive care unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was the first person to receive the vaccine outside the trial phase. Lindsay’s vaccination was televised in an effort to instill faith in the vaccine and its legitimacy. Lindsay stated, “I think also as a leader in the organization that I lead by example. I don’t ask people to do anything that I would not do myself”. New York felt the force of this virus heavily as it left over 35,000 people dead and dampened the economy quite a bit. With the COVID-19 related death count exceeding 300,000 nationwide, this vaccine has been highly anticipated.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for emergency use in the United States on Friday, December 11th. Only approved for emergency use, Pfizer will still have to file an application to have the vaccine fully licensed by the FDA. Over the weekend, cargo planes and trucks were loaded up with nearly 3 million doses of the vaccine to be distributed to hospitals in all 50 states. The majority of the vaccines will be going to the high-risk healthcare workers, but there will not be enough doses to cover all essential workers who risk exposure daily. The vaccines also can come with some short-term side effects such as fevers and aches, so hospitals will be staggering the vaccination schedule for their employees. Residents of nursing homes, who account for a large amount of the COVID-19 related deaths, will be prioritized and should be receiving their first round of vaccinations next week. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans won’t be eligible to receive the vaccine until the spring or later.

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