Redfield’s decision follows the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommending the vaccine be given to people 16 years and older.
On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the vaccine, and the first batch of shots began shipping on Sunday from a plant in Portage, Michigan, with the vials arriving in about 600 locations in the coming days.
I’m at the #Pfizer manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich., for @freep this morning, where 3 semi-trucks have pulled into a loading dock, and are getting filled with doses of the nation’s first #COVID-19 vaccines. #vaccines #CovidVaccine pic.twitter.com/He9nilQ86P
— Kristen Shamus (@KristenShamus) December 13, 2020
In a statement announcing final approval of the vaccine, Redfield said “initial” vaccinations will begin “as early as Monday.”
“This is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and help restore some normalcy to our lives and country,” he announced.
Statement from CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield pic.twitter.com/zDJo9EKz4t
— Dianne Gallagher (@DianneG) December 13, 2020
Despite the vaccine, Redfield has taken a somber tone on the pandemic in recent days, predicting on Thursday that Covid-19 deaths per day will likely exceed casualties from 9/11 and the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“We are in the timeframe now that probably for the next 60 to 90 days we’re going to have more deaths per day than we had at 9/11 or we had at Pearl Harbor,” Redfield said during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Redfield’s words followed more than 3,000 deaths being reported the day before, a number higher than the amount of deaths from 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.
Redfield said even with the distribution of the new vaccine, the death toll should not be expected to be significantly impacted for a couple months.
“The reality is the vaccine approval this week’s not going to really impact that I think to any degree for the next 60 days,” he said.
The US has reported over 16 million cases of Covid-19, as well as over 298,000 deaths, notably and recently passing the estimated 291,557 deaths of soldiers killed in combat during World War II.
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