First Pfizer vaccines arrive in states across the country ready to be administered TODAY after the US set 7-day records for COVID deaths, cases AND hospitalizations

 The first shipments of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use began arriving around the United States on Sunday evening as the nation posted new records for cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the past week. 

Pfizer packed hundreds of boxes of the vaccine into trucks that departed from its manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, early Sunday morning, embarking on historic journeys with an aim to putting an end to the coronavirus pandemic after nine devastating months.

The pharmaceutical giant said the first shipments will deliver three million doses to 64 states, US territories and major cities, as well as five federal agencies - with the first jabs expected to be administered on Monday. 


Workers were seen unloading boxes of the vaccine from a plane at a UPS logistics center in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday evening under the supervision of UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler. 

Across the country in Southern California a cargo plane was seen arriving with another shipment at Los Angeles International Airport. 

The vaccine distribution effort came as the US posted yet another round of harrowing statistics - with the seven-day rolling averages for new infections, hospitalizations and deaths reaching new highs on Sunday. 

More than 186,880 new cases were reported on Sunday as the seven-day average hit 211,494, according to the COVID Tracking Project, bringing the US total to over 16.25 million. 

Hospitalizations climbed to 109,331 with a 106,656 seven-day average - marking the eighth-consecutive daily increase. 

And 1,482 new deaths were reported Sunday, bringing the seven-day average to a record high of 2,427. The US is now seeing 300 more fatalities every 24 hours than it was during the previous peak in April, with 299,163 total to date. 

The first shipments of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use began arriving around the United States on Sunday evening. Pictured: Workers unload boxes of the vaccine from a plane at a UPS logistics center in Louisville, Kentucky

The first shipments of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use began arriving around the United States on Sunday evening. Pictured: Workers unload boxes of the vaccine from a plane at a UPS logistics center in Louisville, Kentucky

The vaccine distribution effort came as the US posted yet another round of harrowing statistics - with the seven-day rolling averages for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths reaching new highs on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project

The vaccine distribution effort came as the US posted yet another round of harrowing statistics - with the seven-day rolling averages for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths reaching new highs on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project

Pfizer packed hundreds of boxes of the vaccine into trucks that departed from its manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, early Sunday morning. Pictured: A shipment arrives in Louisville

Pfizer packed hundreds of boxes of the vaccine into trucks that departed from its manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, early Sunday morning. Pictured: A shipment arrives in Louisville 

Each box of vaccines contains dry ice to keep the temperature at minus 70 Celsius as well as a GPS tracker

Each box of vaccines contains dry ice to keep the temperature at minus 70 Celsius as well as a GPS tracker

Sunday's shipments of the Pfizer vaccine have set into motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history

Sunday's shipments of the Pfizer vaccine have set into motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history

A FedEx cargo plane carrying vaccine doses arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday night (pictured)

A FedEx cargo plane carrying vaccine doses arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday night (pictured)

The Twitter account for LAX announced the arrival of the vaccines, writing: 'This is a major milestone for science, our country and our community. Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world'

The Twitter account for LAX announced the arrival of the vaccines, writing: 'This is a major milestone for science, our country and our community. Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world'

In the face of a devastating surge in all three metrics that mark the severity of the nation's outbreak, health officials are pinning their hopes of bringing the virus to its knees on Pfizer's vaccine, which received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late Friday after the Trump administration pressed regulators to move quickly.

President Donald Trump praised the initial distribution efforts in a tweet Sunday, writing: 'Vaccines are shipped and on their way, FIVE YEARS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. Get well USA. Get well WORLD. We love you all!' 

Later in the night Trump tweeted that White House staffers should not receive first access to the COVID-19 vaccine 'unless specifically necessary' following a report that those who work close to the president would be inoculated as soon as this week ahead of the general public.

'People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made,' Trump wrote. 

'I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!' he added.

His tweet followed a report that said high-ranking White House staffers who work in close quarters to Trump would be among the first to receive the vaccine, while its public distribution is limited to front-line health workers and people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.


FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn on Sunday said he is hopeful that the first shot to be administered in the US will take place on Monday.  

'We've seen the vaccines go out, we've seen the press reports of hospitals waiting to vaccinate healthcare workers and those most vulnerable,' Hahn told CNN's Jake Tapper. 

'It would be my greatest hope and desire that, that occur tomorrow.' 

In the early hours on Sunday an assembly line of workers were photographed pulling doses of the Pfizer vaccine out of a freezer, boxing the vaccine and loading the units onto pallets so they could be placed on the trucks. 

The first three trucks carrying the refrigerated vaccines rolled away at 8.29am, escorted by body armor-clad security officers in a pickup truck and a SUV. 

Workers clapped and whistled as the trucks departed. A number of local residents also gathered outside the facility to offer their applause.

Crates of the vaccine were later seen being loaded onto planes at Capital Regional International Airport in Lansing.

A UPS Boeing 757 carrying two air shipping containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine taxis to a ramp after landing at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport on Sunday

A UPS Boeing 757 carrying two air shipping containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine taxis to a ramp after landing at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport on Sunday

The boxes of vaccines were protected in flight by large shipping containers like the one shown above

The boxes of vaccines were protected in flight by large shipping containers like the one shown above

Workers drag a shipping container into the UPS Worldport distribution center in Louisville on Sunday

Workers drag a shipping container into the UPS Worldport distribution center in Louisville on Sunday

Pfizer said its first shipments will deliver three million vaccine doses to 64 states, US territories and major cities, as well as five federal agencies, over Monday and Tuesday

Pfizer said its first shipments will deliver three million vaccine doses to 64 states, US territories and major cities, as well as five federal agencies, over Monday and Tuesday

Boxes of vaccines are scanned into the UPS Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday

Boxes of vaccines are scanned into the UPS Worldport in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday

UPS pilot calls COVID vaccine delivery 'humbling'
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Sunday's shipments of the Pfizer vaccine have set into motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history at a critical juncture of the pandemic that has killed more than 1.6 million and sickened more than 71.1 million worldwide.

Initially, around three million doses are being sent out, and the priority is health care workers and nursing home residents. The shipments are being staggered, first arriving at 145 distribution centers Monday, with an additional 425 sites receiving shipments by Tuesday. The remaining 66 centers will get them by Wednesday.

The vaccine, co-developed by German partner BioNTech, is being doled out based on each state's adult population. It will be up to states to decide who gets vaccinated first, but the CDC has recommended injecting health care workers and nursing home residents (who have equal priority) first.

UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler (pictured) oversaw the unloading of vaccine boxes in Louisville on Sunday

UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler (pictured) oversaw the unloading of vaccine boxes in Louisville on Sunday

UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler films a video of shipping containers emerging from a cargo plane

UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler films a video of shipping containers emerging from a cargo plane

Masked UPS employees worked together to unload the shipment of vaccines in Louisville on Sunday

Masked UPS employees worked together to unload the shipment of vaccines in Louisville on Sunday


Pennsylvania health care giant UPMC has chosen staff who are critical to operating its facilities as among those getting the first round of vaccinations, said Dr Graham Snyder, who led the center's vaccine task force.

FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn said he's hopeful the first shot to be administered in the US could happen Monday

FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn said he's hopeful the first shot to be administered in the US could happen Monday

'It's very exciting. I will be thrilled, that moment when we administer our first dose,' Snyder said Saturday. 'That will clearly be a watershed moment for us.'

Snyder said the UPMC system estimates that half its employees are willing to get the vaccine as soon as it's offered to them.

The vaccine is heading to hospitals and other sites that can store it at extremely low temperatures - about 94 degrees below zero. Pfizer is using containers with dry ice and GPS-enabled sensors to ensure each shipment stays colder than the weather in Antarctica.

Doses should be delivered to all vaccination sites identified by states, such as local pharmacies, within three weeks, federal officials said. 

The rollout will ensure there is enough vaccine to give people the two doses needed for full protection against COVID-19. That means the government is holding back three million doses to give those vaccinated in the first round a second shot a few weeks later.

First trucks carrying the COVID-19 vaccine depart Pfizer plant
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The first trucks carrying Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine pulled out of a Michigan manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo early Sunday

The first trucks carrying Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine pulled out of a Michigan manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo early Sunday

Pfizer first announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccines were being prepared to be shipped across the country beginning Sunday

Pfizer first announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccines were being prepared to be shipped across the country beginning Sunday 

Nancy Galloway (L) and Susan Deur cheer as trucks carrying the first shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine leave the center

Nancy Galloway (L) and Susan Deur cheer as trucks carrying the first shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine leave the center

The shipments of Pfizer¿s vaccine are being staggered, first arriving at 145 distribution centers Monday, with an additional 425 sites receiving shipments by Tuesday

The shipments of Pfizer's vaccine are being staggered, first arriving at 145 distribution centers Monday, with an additional 425 sites receiving shipments by Tuesday

The first three trucks carrying the refrigerated vaccines rolled away at 8.29am, escorted by body armor-clad security officers in a pickup truck and a SUV

The first three trucks carrying the refrigerated vaccines rolled away at 8.29am, escorted by body armor-clad security officers in a pickup truck and a SUV

Pfizer workers applaud as first shipments of COVID vaccine begin
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Pfizer first announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccines were being prepared to be shipped across the country beginning Sunday, following reports that the Trump administration put immense pressure on the FDA to give the green-light. 

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly even told FDA Commissioner Hahn to consider getting a new job if he didn't approve the vaccine on Friday, a senior administration official told the New York Times.

Hahn subsequently ordered vaccine regulators at the agency to approve it by the end of the day.

Approval wasn't issued for more than 24 hours after an expert committee said the shot should be approved, drawing criticism from Trump himself, and alleged threats from his chief of staff. 

Concerns that a shot was rushed out could undermine vaccination efforts in a country with deeply ingrained skepticism about vaccines. Hahn said the FDA's decision was based on science, not politics, despite threats the threats from the White House.   

Another vaccine by Moderna will be reviewed by an expert panel this week and soon afterward could be allowed for public use.

America's latest surge in infections is expected to worsen through the holiday season - putting even more strain on hospitals that are already overwhelmed


America's latest surge in infections is expected to worsen through the holiday season - putting even more strain on hospitals that are already overwhelmed. 

As of Sunday 48 states were reporting hospitalization rates exceeding 100 per one million residents, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which released new graphs showing the dramatic increase in the percentage of ICU beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the last week of November compared to the last week in August. 

The organization said half of the 10 Hospital Referral Regions (HHRs) with the most drastic increases in patient occupancy were in the Southwest.  

'Three of these regions are in Texas bordering New Mexico: Amarillo (an increase of 70.9 percentage points), El Paso (an increase of 53.8 percentage points), and Lubbock (an increase of 47.7 percentage points),' it said in a tweet Saturday.

'In contrast, only one HRR on the entire East Coast was represented in the top ten: Providence, Rhode Island, with an increase of 51.2 percentage points during this timeframe,' it added.  

Nearly 1.5 million new cases were confirmed around the country in the past seven days - with 13 states reporting over 5,000 on Saturday. 

Five of those states had more than 10,000 - Florida, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas - while the majority of 24 states reported between 1,000 and 5,000 cases.  

The spike in cases continues to worsen in California, in particular, which reported 35,729 new cases on Saturday - a new daily record for any state in the US.  

California, the most populous state in the country with 31.5 million residents, also now has more people hospitalized than any state at any time since New York in April.  

Gov Gavin Newson imposed a new stay-at-home order for regions of the state with less than 15 percent available ICU capacity earlier this month. 

Three of the five regions - comprising over 77 percent of the population - have met that threshold. 

New maps from the COVID Tracking Project, which show the dramatic increase in the percentage of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in the last week of November compared to the last week in August, as pictured above

New maps from the COVID Tracking Project, which show the dramatic increase in the percentage of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in the last week of November compared to the last week in August, as pictured above

A map from the COVID Tracking project shows the high number of patients in the ICU across the country

A map from the COVID Tracking project shows the high number of patients in the ICU across the country

Texas and New Mexico have been the hardest hit by the rise in COVID-19 patients in ICU, as pictured above

Texas and New Mexico have been the hardest hit by the rise in COVID-19 patients in ICU, as pictured above

First Pfizer vaccines arrive in states across the country ready to be administered TODAY after the US set 7-day records for COVID deaths, cases AND hospitalizations First Pfizer vaccines arrive in states across the country ready to be administered TODAY after the US set 7-day records for COVID deaths, cases AND hospitalizations Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:55 Rating: 5

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