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US COVID-19 vaccinations begin, first doses for critical workers

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A New York Metropolis nurse was one of many first within the U.S. to obtain the primary dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning.

The biggest vaccination marketing campaign in U.S. historical past received underway Monday as well being employees in choose hospitals rolled up their sleeves for pictures to guard them from COVID-19 and begin beating again the pandemic — a day of optimism even because the nation’s loss of life toll neared 300,000.

“I really feel hopeful right this moment. Relieved,” stated essential case nurse Sandra Lindsay after getting a shot within the arm at Lengthy Island Jewish Medical Middle in New York.

Shipments of treasured frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German associate BioNTech started arriving at hospitals across the nation Monday.

“That is the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel. Nevertheless it’s an extended tunnel,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated as he watched Lindsay’s vaccination by way of video.

A number of different international locations even have OK’d the vaccine, together with the U.Ok., which began vaccinating final week.

For well being care employees who, together with nursing dwelling residents, might be first in line for vaccination, hope is tempered by grief and the sheer exhaustion of months spent battling a coronavirus that also is surging within the U.S. and around the globe.

“That is mile 24 of a marathon. Persons are fatigued. However we additionally acknowledge that this finish is in sight,” stated Dr. Chris Dale of Swedish Well being Providers in Seattle.

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Packed in dry ice to remain at ultra-frozen temperatures, the primary of practically three million doses being shipped in staggered batches this week made their manner by truck and by aircraft across the nation Sunday from Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, manufacturing unit. As soon as they arrive at distribution facilities, every state directs the place the doses go subsequent.

Some hospitals throughout the nation spent the weekend monitoring their packages, refreshing FedEx and UPS web sites for clues.

Extra of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive every week. And later this week, the FDA will resolve whether or not to inexperienced mild the world’s second rigorously studied COVID-19 vaccine, made by Moderna Inc.

Now the hurdle is to quickly get vaccine into the arms of thousands and thousands, not simply medical doctors and nurses however different at-risk well being employees corresponding to janitors and meals handlers — after which ship a second dose three weeks later.

“We’re additionally in the course of a surge, and it’s the vacations, and our well being care employees have been working at a rare tempo,” stated Sue Mashni, chief pharmacy officer at Mount Sinai Well being System in New York Metropolis.

Plus, the pictures may cause short-term fever, fatigue and aches as they rev up folks’s immune programs, forcing hospitals to stagger worker vaccinations.

A cautious public might be watching intently to see whether or not well being employees embrace vaccination. Simply half of Individuals say they wish to get vaccinated, whereas a couple of quarter don’t and the remaining are uncertain, in response to a latest ballot by The Related Press-NORC Middle for Public Well being Analysis.

The FDA, thought of the world’s most strict medical regulator, stated the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine seems secure and strongly protecting — and laid out the info behind it in a daylong public assembly final week for scientists and customers alike to see.

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“Please folks, while you look again in a 12 months and also you say to your self, ‘Did I do the appropriate factor?’ I hope you’ll be capable to say, ‘Sure, as a result of I appeared on the proof,’” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, stated Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Persons are dying proper now. How may you presumably say, ‘Let’s wait and see.’”

Nonetheless, emergency use means the vaccine was cleared for widespread use earlier than a last examine in practically 44,000 folks is full — and that analysis is continuous to attempt to reply further questions. Whereas efficient in opposition to COVID-19 sickness, it’s not but clear if vaccination will cease the symptomless unfold that accounts for half of all circumstances.

The pictures nonetheless should be studied in youngsters, and through being pregnant. However the American Faculty of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated late Sunday that vaccination shouldn’t be withheld from pregnant girls who in any other case would qualify.

Whereas the vaccine was decided to be secure, regulators within the U.Ok. are investigating a number of extreme allergic reactions. The FDA’s directions inform suppliers to not give it to these with a identified historical past of extreme allergic reactions to any of its substances.

AP journalists Tamara Lush and Kathy Younger contributed to this report.

The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Schooling. The AP is solely liable for all content material.

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