The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States pulled out of a Portage, Mich., manufacturing plant Sunday morning, with the shots that are important to restricting the nation’s coronavirus outbreak destined to reach locations in all 50 states a day later.
The first wave of deliveries will see 150 locations supplied with the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, and a further 450 sites will be supplied in the second shipment.
The vaccine is destined to reach Monday morning so that health workers can take the shot before administering it themselves.
Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will set in motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history at a crucial point of the pandemic that has killed 1.6 million and sickened 71 million across the world.
The vaccine shipment comes in support of Operation Warp Speed, a giant private and public partnership put together by the Trump administration.
President Trump, who had been forcing the Food and Drug Administration to expedite approval, said finding a coronavirus vaccine would have taken “five years” if he wasn’t president.
Initially, about 3 million doses were thought to be rolled out, and the priority is health care workers and nursing home residents as infections, hospitalizations and deaths soar in the U.S. with numbers likely to rise over the holidays, the vaccine is offering a shy of relief in the battle against the pandemic that’s killed nearly 300,000 Americans.
Federal officials say the first shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine will be staggered, arriving in 145 distribution centers Monday, with an additional 425 sites getting shipments Tuesday, and the remaining 66 on Wednesday.