WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Trucks of COVID-19 vaccines arrived Monday morning at health care providers across the country — and shortly after, Americans received the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says hundreds of trucks filled with vaccines are out making their way across the country.
“This week we are shipping 2.9 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, next week, assuming Moderna’s approval, we will ship about 6 million doses of Moderna vaccine,” Azar says.
He expects 20 million Americans will be vaccinated by the end of the month and then 30 million more in January.
Azar joined the U.S. Surgeon General Monday afternoon at George Washington University Hospital, where some of the first healthcare workers received their first doses.
Americans will receive the vaccines in phases: the first vaccines will be administered to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.
Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed, General Gustave Perna, says by Wednesday, 3,000 health care providers will have their hands on the vaccine, and they are already packing the next shipments.
“As it is available, its allocated to the states, the states tell us which locations they want it on, at what quantities, we package and deliver. It is a constant flow of available vaccines,” Perna says.
The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to meet on Thursday to consider emergency approval for Moderna’s vaccine.
The vaccine’s arrival comes at an increasingly critical time, as the U.S. surpassed 300,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Monday. The U.S. still leads in total cases globally, with over 16 million. A large number of those cases are concentrated in Los Angeles County in California and Cook County in Illinois.