President-elect Joe Biden should be vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible for “safety reasons,” leading US public health expert Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday, as a second vaccine candidate, manufactured by Moderna, received encouraging assessment before likely approval. by the Food and Drug Administration.
A Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer begins to be given to high-priority populations across the United States – as the virus continues to skyrocket across the country.
Monday saw 193,454 new cases and 1,311 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day moving average for new daily cases was over 209,000, or more than one per minute.
The death toll in the United States has exceeded 300,000 and the number of Americans hospitalized continues to climb, reaching a record 110,549, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
On Monday evening, Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, told MSNBC: “We’re still in the midst of what will be a very, very, very dark winter. There are probably tens of thousands of dead before the end of the year and more after. ”
But the start of the massive vaccination campaign provided a silver lining. The first doses of Pfizer and BioNTech were administered to high priority populations on Monday.
At a press briefing, Health Secretary Alex Azar said 636 vaccination sites would receive doses by Wednesday, followed by 581 more by the end of the week. The first deployment of the Pfizer vaccine will see a total of 2.9 million vaccinations, Azar said.
The first to receive injections were mostly high priority healthcare workers. Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York City, publicly received the first injection.
“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful period in our history,” Lindsay told reporters.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Tuesday that the first vaccinations in his state were “given to our heroic frontline health workers.”
“This is a day we’ve been waiting for almost a year,” Murphy said. “It was a pleasure to attend these first vaccinations.”
FDA approval for the Moderna vaccine is likely by the end of the week. The company released data on Tuesday and will meet with the FDA on Thursday, where a committee of medical and scientific advisers will decide on final approval for emergency use. Azar said the 6 million doses will be shipped upon approval.
On Tuesday, the FDA said the Moderna vaccine was effective without any specific safety concerns in adults over 18. The company’s previous assessment indicated that its vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1% in a trial of 30,000 people. The side effects, which can include fever, headache and fatigue, were unpleasant but not dangerous, the agency found. The Moderna vaccine is easier to handle than the Pfizer vaccine, which requires extremely cold storage.
The federal government hopes to see 20 million people vaccinated with a first dose – the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two – by the end of December, and an additional 30 million by the end of January. Azar said the general population could expect to have a vaccine available by the end of June, although that timeline hinges on the approval of two more vaccines, one developed by Johnson & Johnson and the other by AstraZeneca, which are still at an advanced clinical stage. testing.
Polls show more Americans are ready to get the vaccine, though skepticism remains. An ABC News and Ipsos poll found that over 80% said they would receive the vaccine, while a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 71% said they would ‘definitely or probably ”a vaccine.
Politicians and public health officials have said they will be vaccinated in public to increase confidence in the vaccine – Biden among them.
“We want him to be fully protected as he takes the presidency in January,” Fauci said Told ABC Tuesday. He also said Vice President Mike Pence should be vaccinated, adding that Donald Trump should be protected by the antibodies left over from his fight against the virus in October.
With most Americans having to wait at least a few more months for a vaccine, public officials and health experts have pleaded with the public to continue wearing masks and social distancing, especially during the holiday season.
The Trump administration continues to draw criticism for its decision to host a series of large-scale holiday parties in which these precautions are not fully observed. On Tuesday morning, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, interrogates public foreclosure orders.