The U.S., the country with the largest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world, will start vaccinating its people on Monday (US time). The country has cumulative confirmed cases and deaths surpassing 16 million and 300,000, respectively. The Trump administration expressed an expectation by comparing the start of mass vaccination to the ‘D Day,’ the day of the Allied invasion of Normandy during the Second World War.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Saturday recommended CDC to vaccinate Americans aged 16 and older with the Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. If CDC Director Robert Redfield accepts the advice and gives final approval, the U.S. will actually start vaccinating its people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use on Friday.
Army General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, told a press conference on Saturday, “This is a game changer. Not to dramatize the situation we’re in, but we’re at war with this virus. And the vaccine is the beginning of the end (in the fight against the virus).”
The first shipment of 2.9 million doses of the vaccine departed from a production plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Sunday to across the U.S. continent. The vaccine will be administered first in priority groups, including healthcare professionals and senior citizens in nursery homes beginning on Monday. By taking into account the vaccine’s characteristic that requires storage at an ultralow temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius, special containers filled with dry ice sufficient to keep the vaccine cold enough for ten days have been mobilized. The trucks have been equipped with devices designed to inform the location, temperatures, exposure to light, and movement.