Home Disaster US Covid death toll hits 300,000 at beginning of vaccine rollout

US Covid death toll hits 300,000 at beginning of vaccine rollout

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The number of Americans killed by the new coronavirus topped 300,000 on Monday, the same day the country launched a massive vaccination campaign to curb the spread of COVID-19.

And on Tuesday morning, scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a data review that almost guarantees a second vaccine will soon join the Pfizer vaccine that was sent out on Monday: Moderna’s two-shot regimen, which is based on the same technology as the Pfizer vaccine, was found to be 94 percent effective in a clinical trial and carried no serious safety concerns. The glowing assessment positions the Moderna vaccine for approval from an FDA advisory panel that is meeting on Thursday, the Washington Post reported.

As the first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine made their way to the arms of health care workers around the United States, a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 71% of Americans say they will “definitely or probably” get a COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s up from 63% in September, and it’s a sign that a growing number of Americans are starting to trust the science behind the vaccines as they become more comfortable with the speed in which the vaccines are being developed.

Still, just over a quarter of Americans are hesitant to get a vaccine, saying they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it were free and deemed safe by scientists. The greatest reluctance was seen among Black Americans, people living in rural areas and Republicans.

And not everyone wants a shot right away: A third of those surveyed said they want to get a vaccine “as soon as possible,” while 39% of those surveyed said they would “wait and see” how initial vaccination efforts go before getting a vaccine themselves. Kaiser polled 1,676 adults for the survey.

On Monday morning, the first vaccination outside a clinical trial in the United States took place in Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, The New York Times reported. The shot, made by

Pfizer, was given to Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the center.

Lindsay, who has treated patients throughout the pandemic, said that she hoped her public vaccination would instill confidence that the shots were safe.

“I have seen the alternative, and do not want it for you,” she said. “I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”

Lindsay’s shot was part of the first shipments of nearly 3 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that were on their way to hospitals in all 50 U.S. states.

Gen. Gustave F. Perna, chief operating officer of the federal effort to develop a vaccine, told the Times that 425 sites are set to receive the vaccine on Tuesday and 66 will get it on Wednesday.

Most of the first round of injections are to be given to high-risk health care workers, the newspaper reported. Because the vaccines can cause side effects including fevers and aches, hospitals have said they will stagger vaccinations among their workers.

Residents of nursing homes, who have suffered a disproportionate share of COVID-19 deaths, will begin to get shots next week, the Times reported. A vast majority of Americans will not be eligible for vaccinations until the spring or later.

Alex Azar, who heads the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the plan is to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of December, up to 50 million by the end of January and 100 million by the end of February, the Post reported.



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