On Sunday, December 13, 2020 the first doses of the Pfizer-BioTech vaccine left a facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The networks had cameras trained on FedEx and UPS trucks and planes as they took off filled with the vaccine that promises to assist us in ending the worst global pandemic since the 1918 flu.
As workers filled cartons with stacks of white trays, each packed with 195 glass vials, covered with dry ice to keep what is commonly referred to as the “Pfizer” vaccine cold, America watched with fingers crossed. Will the vaccine arrive in time to save me and my family, to save us, not only here in America, but across the globe?
Three million vaccine doses will arrive at 145 facilities, mostly large hospital systems on Monday, December 14. Five hundred additional sites will receive vaccines on Tuesday and Wednesday. All 50 states and our territories are getting vaccines. The first shots will be given on Monday, December 14, 2020.
It has been a long haul and will continue to be so despite the historic images broadcast on TV early Sunday morning. History was made but do not throw away your masks. Yes, masked men and women, children, too, social distancing, and hand washing are still the order of the day and will remain so for some time.
The F.D.A last week gave emergency use authorization to the “Pfizer” vaccine. People aged 16 and 17 and older can receive it. The first people who will get the vaccine are health care workers and elderly people in long term facilities. After that, front line workers – emergency responders, teachers, and food handlers – will be vaccinated. Then people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to catching the virus will be vaccinated. Each person will require two doses. Another vaccine, developed by Moderna, is scheduled to be reviewed soon.
Before herd immunity is reached, government officials say 70 to 80 percent of our nation’s population will have to be vaccinated. That will take a long time. The goal may not be reached until the summer of 2021.
In the meantime, more than 277,000 Americans have died of Covid-19. That number is larger than the population of Orlando, Florida. On Wednesday, December 9, more than 3,000 people died on a single day. The numbers are grim. For most of us, including me, it is simply too depressing to listen to the death count anymore, especially as the holidays approach.
Can we hunker down for a bit longer? Let us hope so.