The first vaccines arrived in the U.S. today! Here’s the scoop.
The initial shipment contains 3 million doses and will go to 145 sites in all 50 states across the country. The vaccines are from Pfizer-BioNTech. On Tuesday, 425 sites will receive the vaccine, followed by 66 on Wednesday.
The first dose was administered to a nurse in Queens this morning shortly after 9 am. Sandra Lindsay of Long Island Jewish Medical Center was vaccinated during a press conference with New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history,” said Lindsay
What you need to know
The first doses are to be given to frontline healthcare workers and those in nursing homes. After that will be emergency personnel, seniors, and those with pre-existing conditions. Medicare will cover the costs of the coronavirus vaccine.
Take note that for most, it will take a few months before the vaccine is available. Be patient and wait until your health professional says the vaccine is available to you. Dr. Fauci projects that it will be April before the vaccine will be widely available.
“We hope that now that all the data is out and available to be discussed in detail that people will keep their mind open, to listen to the data, and hopefully agree that this is a very effective and safe vaccine, and therefore take it,” said Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed.
Slaoui is concerned that people are hesitant to take the vaccine and assures that it is safe and effective. The side effects will be similar to those of other vaccines, such as mild discomfort and aches and pains.
Continue to take precautions
Remember that even as the vaccine is being administered, it is still vital to wear masks and practice social distancing, as it takes time for the vaccines to take effect and it will take time for everyone to get vaccinated. Even vaccinated people may still carry the virus, even if they don’t get sick.
“Given the currently limited information on how well the vaccine works in the general population; how much it may reduce disease, severity or transmission; and how long protection lasts, vaccinated persons should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves and others,” said CDC Dr. Sarah Mbaeyi.
Dr. Fauci said, “A vaccine right now is not a substitute for the normal standard public health measures,” he said, adding, “It’s not a substitute. It complements it. Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it’s no longer a public health threat, can you then think about the possibility of pulling back on public health measures.”
Dr. Fauci is also encouraging virtual gatherings for the holiday season. Have questions about the vaccine? Follow us on Facebook for updates.