Wednesday, December 2, 2020

First Shots

Via The New York Times:

LONDON — Britain gave emergency authorization on Wednesday to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, leaping ahead of the United States to become the first Western country to allow mass inoculations against a disease that has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide.

The decision kicked off a vaccination campaign with little precedent in modern medicine, encompassing not only ultracold dry ice and trays of glass vials but also a crusade against anti-vaccine misinformation.

Britain beating the United States to authorization — on a vaccine codeveloped by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, no less — may intensify pressure on U.S. regulators, who are already under fire from the White House for not moving faster to get doses to people. And it has stirred up a global debate about how to weigh the desperate need for a vaccine with the imperative of assuring people that it is safe.

“Help is on its way with this vaccine — and we can now say that with certainty, rather than with all the caveats,” the British health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Wednesday, as the government exulted in the authorization.

Here in the States, the first to get an approved vaccine will most likely be first responders, healthcare workers, and the elderly in nursing homes.