Source: China State Council Information Office
The United States started its COVID-19 vaccine rollout nationwide on Monday as death toll of the pandemic in the country topped 300,000.
Shortly before 9:30 a.m. local time, a critical care nurse in New York was among the first people in the country to get the vaccine of American drugmaker Pfizer in partnership with German company BioNTech.
Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, was administered the vaccine by Northwell Health Director of Employee Health Services Michelle Chester.
In a video link with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lindsay said, “I feel I hope today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming and this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”
“I believe this is the weapon that will end the war,” Cuomo said Monday morning.
While the first doses of the vaccine was administered in New York, people across the nation began receiving it on Monday as well.
The vaccine rollout came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for emergency use for Americans 16 and older on Friday.
A day later, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield signed the recommendation of a key CDC advisory group to use the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC has recommended that frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccine first. State and local authorities will make their own decisions on who gets vaccinated and when.
On Sunday, the first batch of the vaccine was shipped out from a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, heading for over 600 sites across all 50 states.
According to Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of the federal administration’s Operation Warp Speed, 145 sites were set to receive the vaccine on Monday, 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Monday that the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine does not mean people should drop “normal, standard public health measures.”
“A vaccine right now is not a substitute for the normal, standard public health measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding congregate crowded sections, and particularly indoors. It’s not a substitute, it complements it,” Fauci said in an interview with MSNBC.
The massive vaccine campaign started as COVID-19 death toll in the United States surpassed 300,000 on Monday, a grim milestone since the onset of the pandemic.
A total of 181,032 new cases and 1,448 new deaths were reported across the country on Sunday, according to data updated Monday by the CDC.
The United States has recorded more than 16.42 million cases with over 300,400 related deaths as of Monday evening, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.