The beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic is finally here.
The first federally approved COVID-19 vaccine was expected to arrive at 145 locations across all 50 states in the US Monday morning, including New York – and vaccinations were set to begin shortly after.
The vaccine, developed by the Manhattan-based drugmaker Pfizer and the German company BioNTech, was authorized for emergency use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday night, setting in motion the largest vaccination effort in American history.
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, federal officials said.
Delivery trucks with special refrigeration equipment departed from a Pfizer facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Sunday as part of the plan to ship millions of doses of the vaccine to the most vulnerable Americans.
About 2.9 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed this week in the first phase of the vaccine rollout.
Another 2.9 million doses will be held back to ensure that those who received the first dose of the two-dose vaccine get their second dose three weeks later, Gen. Gustave Perna of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed has said.
High-risk populations like healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents in the US will be prioritized first to receive the landmark vaccine.
New York was slated to receive 170,000 doses of the vaccine, with New York City receiving an allotment of 72,000.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that the Empire State has 90 regional distribution centers to store the COVID-19 vaccine, which must be kept in cold temperatures.
Two front-line employees for Northwell Health will be among the first to be vaccinated in New York, officials said.
Those volunteers are Yves Duroseau, the chair of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, according to a media advisory.
Both Duroseau and Lindsay have worked tirelessly to beat back the health crisis and ease the suffering of COVID-19 patients since the virus outbreak erupted in New York, 10 months ago.
Cuomo is expected to participate in the historic moment via livestream.
The COVID-19 vaccine comes at a crucial moment as the virus has killed nearly 300,000 in the US and more than 1.6 million people worldwide.
With Post wires