US says states will start receiving COVID-19 vaccine Monday

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in states Monday morning. The FDA granted emergency use for the vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner, BioNTech, on Friday, Dec. 11, kicking off a massive vaccination effort to help defeat the pandemic.

Army General Gustave Perna said that shipping companies UPS and FedEx will begin delivering Pfizer’s vaccine to nearly 150 distribution centers on Sunday. An additional 425 sites across the United States will receive shipments on Tuesday, with the remaining 66 sites vaccines being delivered Wednesday.

“Boxes are being packed and loaded with vaccine with emphasis on quality control,” Perna said.

Perna is with Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine development program. About 3 million doses are expected to be shipped initially, with health care workers and nursing home residents likely the priority nationwide.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is expected to make recommendations regarding priority populations for COVID vaccine within 24 hours of vaccine availability. The South Dakota Department of Health has identified the following populations for initial vaccination pending ACIP recommendations and the state’s vaccine allocation from the federal government.

Phase 1A is expected to include roughly 19,000 frontline healthcare workers in emergency rooms, ICUs, COVID units, acute care units for COVID patients, and long-term care facility healthcare workers. Phase 1B would include 11,000 residents in nursing homes and assisted living centers.

South Dakota’s initial vaccine allocation is 7,800 doses, as the federal government provides vaccine doses to states based on that State’s population.

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the CDC and current president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, wrote, “The potential of this moment to change the course of the pandemic will only be realized if it is accompanied by thoughtful action. Individuals must continue to follow proven public health guidance like wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and washing their hands,” in a statement to NBC News.

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photo courtesy: SD Department of Health

South Dakota added more 33 deaths related to the coronavirus and 618 new cases on Saturday. Hospitalizations were down 15 to 452 – the lowest number of hospitalizations since early November.

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