Fewer than 48 hours have passed since the FDA approved Pfizer’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, and just as promised, the first boxes of the vaccine (packed in special containers utilizing dry ice to keep it stored at a temperature colder than the North Pole) have been packed on to trucks, and those trucks have taken off to destinations around the country.
Photos and video of the first trucks (Pfizer’s distribution partners as the company is reportedly bypassing McKesson, the drug-distribution giant) leaving Kalamazoo Michigan have been widely distributed to the American press, as vaccinations are expected to begin in the US this week (the first non-trial patients have already received the vaccine in the UK).
Video of some of the departures was shared on YouTube.
The shipments officially set in motion the biggest vaccination effort in America so far. Initially, about 3MM doses are expected to be sent out, even as Pfizer cuts its targets, and the priority is health care workers and nursing home residents as infections, hospitalizations and deaths soar in the US. With numbers likely to get worse over the holidays, the vaccine is offering a bright spot in the fight against the pandemic that’s killed nearly 300K Americans.
Federal officials say the first shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine will be staggered, arriving in 145 distribution centers on Monday, then another 425 sites on Tuesday, and the last 66 on Wednesday. The vaccine, co-developed by German partner BioNTech, is being doled out based on each state’s adult population.
The vaccine is initially being sent to hospitals and other sites that can store it at the extremely low temperatures (-94 degrees). Speaking Sunday to Fox News, OWS head Dr. Moncef Slaoui said the effort is progressing right on schedule, with tens of millions of Americans due to be vaccinated by year’s end.
Though he added that he remains “very concerned” about vaccine-related skepticism in some circles. Meanwhile, he affirmed that the review of Moderna’s vaccine should be ready by next year.