| USA TODAY
Cheers as first COVID-19 vaccine doses leave Michigan
There were cheers from workers as the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shipments left the Michigan facility.
As the United States approaches 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, the first vaccine approved in the country to combat the coronavirus is arriving at health care facilities in “every corner of America.”
Vaccinations could begin as early as Monday in all 50 states.
While President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other federal officials will be offered the vaccine over several days, officials said, Trump tweeted Sunday night that he was not “scheduled” to take the vaccine but would “at the appropriate time.” Health care workers and nursing home residents are first in line to receive the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
The vaccine was also endorsed by CDC director Robert Redfield, who said the agency’s recommendation “comes at a critical time,” with the virus surging throughout the nation. Vaccine providers planned for multiple scenarios that could stop distribution of the virus – including earthquakes.
“We have millions of doses of this vaccine that are now being shipped to every corner of America, with administration to begin as soon as providers are ready,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
Despite the positive news of an incoming vaccine, the U.S. is still battling overcrowded hospitals and record-breaking daily case count as the nation nears another sad milestone, 300,000 deaths, the most of any country.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 16.2 million cases and 299,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 72.1 million cases and 1.61 million deaths.
📰 What we’re reading: We’re answering your questions about the vaccine, like: What are the side effects? Can you still get sick? Is it safe during pregnancy? Get the answers here.
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White House, Congress, SCOTUS will get early vaccine access
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be among the top office-holders offered coronavirus vaccines in the next week to 10 days to guard against an outbreak that could cripple the functions of government, officials said Sunday.
The shots will be offered to officials across all three branches of government, including leaders at the White House, in Congress and on the Supreme Court. White House staff members who work in close proximity to Trump are also expected to get early vaccines.
The White House has been the site of several outbreaks during the pandemic, with Trump, his chief of staff and several aides among those infected. The vast majority of the new vaccines will be earmarked for health care workers and residents and staff of nursing homes, who have been among the most severely impacted by the virus.
– David Jackson
US health care centers prep for arrival of COVID-19 vaccine
Hospitals and medical centers spent Sunday preparing for the first COVID-19 vaccine to arrive Monday morning, a massive undertaking that began when a caravan of semis guarded by unmarked police cars pulled out of the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan, just after dawn.
Onlookers applauded and cheered as the tractor-trailers carrying 189 boxes of vaccine slowly rolled out. The doses held in those cartons will be injected into the arms of health care workers in all 50 states beginning Monday morning.
The run-throughs and tabletop exercises and hours and hours of Zoom calls are necessary because dealing with the Pfizer vaccine takes training and great organization.
— Elizabeth Weise
California hospital pleads with residents to follow COVID protocols
With zero percent hospital capacity left, a main lobby turned into a COVID-19 unit and a shortage of healthcare workers who are suffering from illnesses and burnout, Providence St. Mary Medical Center officials are now pleading with local residents to follow coronavirus protocol.
The situation at the California hospital isn’t unique. Across the country, health centers are reaching their breaking points, crammed with coronavirus patients and running out of resources, including staff. But Providence St. Mary directors and front-line healthcare workers are asking for the support of citizens to help slow the spread locally.
“In the last three, four weeks we’ve been a case study for what happens when people don’t social distance, when people don’t wear masks,” said Bryan Kawasaki, the hospital’s spokesman. “We hope that people will learn and help alleviate the stress off the hospital systems in the High Desert.”
— Martin Estacio and Matthew Cabe, Victorville Daily Press
Some Florida hospitals won’t require COVID-19 vaccinations
Some of Florida’s top hospitals, including those expected to soon get the first shipments of vaccines to prevent COVID-19, won’t require medical and support staff to get the shots even though they require inoculations against the far-less-deadly flu virus.
Five Florida hospitals are slated to get the initial distribution of 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine between Monday and next Sunday, according to state Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz. Those hospitals are in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami and Hollywood.
The state’s vaccine distribution plan calls for health care workers, other “essential personnel,” the elderly and those with health problems putting them at high risk for COVID-19 complications to receive priority in getting access to the vaccine.But not even all of the Florida hospitals getting the first doses will require their staff to be immunized.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that the federal government will provide the state with 179,400 doses of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
— Frank Gluck, Fort Myers News-Press
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: David Jackson and Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY; The Associated Press