The urgently needed shots against the fast-spreading deadly disease began shipment on Sunday, and are expected to be administered to the nation’s most vulnerable populations just three days after receiving an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The federal government is expecting to roll out nearly 8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, between products from Pfizer and Moderna, according to Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed.
The news comes after an independent advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted on Sunday to recommend the next wave of vaccines go to front-line essential workers and people over the age of 75. This group would comprise of an estimated 51 million people, and stand in line behind about 3 million nursing home residents and 21 million front-line medical workers who held first priority for Pfizer’s initial wave of vaccines rolled out last week. However, the panel, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), noted there will likely be overlap between phases.
So far, the U.S. has distributed over 2.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and some 556,208 people have received the first of their two-dose vaccinations, according to the CDC.
While the nation topped 17 million infections just last Thursday, Dec. 17, the country is already approaching the 18 million mark, with over 17.8 million reported cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of Monday morning, at least 317,600 people in the U.S. had died due to the disease.