The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, outside of clinical trials, started being administered to healthcare workers and nursing home staffers on Monday (Dec.14).
“Collectively, we aim to vaccinate hundreds of millions of Americans by the end of 2021,” Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer, said in a press release. “I now look forward to the day that this devastating and deadly pandemic is finally behind us.”
The vaccine was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 11 under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Pfizer and BioNTech are analyzing additional data and will file a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA for a possible full regulatory approval in 2021.
About 145 U.S. hospitals are receiving vaccines today, as well as other sites, Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said in a press release. Operation Warp Speed, a division of the Office of Defense, is the federal initiative delivering the vaccines.
“We expect 145 sites across all the states to receive the vaccine on Monday, another 425 sites on Tuesday and the final 66 sites on Wednesday, which will complete the initial delivery of the Pfizer orders for the vaccine,” he said.
Pfizer expects to ship out three million doses in this first wave, and some 25 million doses in the U.S. by the end of the month.
“The massive logistical planning our military has contributed to Operation Warp Speed gives me even more pride in the talent and dedication of our service members,” Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller said in a statement. “They have been crucial in bringing a safe and effective vaccine to the American people and in restoring the health of our country.”
Temporary storage and distribution will be handled by FedEx, UPS and DHL hubs that are equipped with freezer farms, which are mobile cooling units that can each hold up to 48,000 doses, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Politicians and corporate pundits are a new class of influencers typing to spin positive messages about the coronavirus vaccine. A recent PYMNTS survey showed that many people are hesitant about its safety. At least 80 percent of the population must get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
Economists have expressed that the economy won’t start rebounding until there is a vaccine in place.
CVS and Walmart have said they are both ready to start administering the vaccine to nursing homes and assisted living centers. Numerous grocery stores and pharmacy chains have stepped up to serve as administration sites for the vaccine.