Coronavirus updates: Donald Trump says he’s not ‘scheduled’ for vaccine as first Pfizer shipments reach US health care facilities

As the United States approaches 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, the first vaccine approved in the country to combat the coronavirus is arriving at health care facilities in “every corner of America.”

Vaccinations could begin as early as Monday in all 50 states.

While President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other federal officials will be offered the vaccine over several days, officials said, Trump tweeted Sunday night that he was not “scheduled” to take the vaccine but would “at the appropriate time.” Health care workers and nursing home residents are first in line to receive the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. 

The vaccine was also endorsed by CDC director Robert Redfield, who said the agency’s recommendation “comes at a critical time,” with the virus surging throughout the nation. Vaccine providers planned for multiple scenarios that could stop distribution of the virus – including earthquakes.  

“We have millions of doses of this vaccine that are now being shipped to every corner of America, with administration to begin as soon as providers are ready,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Despite the positive news of an incoming vaccine, the U.S. is still battling overcrowded hospitals and record-breaking daily case count as the nation nears another sad milestone, 300,000 deaths, the most of any country.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 16.2million cases and 299,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 72.1 million cases and 1.61 million deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: We’re answering your questions about the vaccine, like: What are the side effects? Can you still get sick? Is it safe during pregnancy? Get the answers here.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

White House, Congress, SCOTUS will get early vaccine access

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be among the top office-holders offered coronavirus vaccines in the next week to 10 days to guard against an outbreak that could cripple the functions of government, officials said Sunday.

The shots will be offered to officials across all three branches of government, including leaders at the White House, in Congress and on the Supreme Court. White House staff members who work in close proximity to Trump are also expected to get early vaccines.

The White House has been the site of several outbreaks during the pandemic, with Trump, his chief of staff and several aides among those infected. The vast majority of the new vaccines will be earmarked for health care workers and residents and staff of nursing homes, who have been among the most severely impacted by the virus.

– David Jackson

US health care centers prep for arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

Hospitals and medical centers spent Sunday preparing for the first COVID-19 vaccine to arrive Monday morning, a massive undertaking that began when a caravan of semis guarded by unmarked police cars pulled out of the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan, just after dawn. 

Onlookers applauded and cheered as the tractor-trailers carrying 189 boxes of vaccine slowly rolled out. The doses held in those cartons will be injected into the arms of health care workers in all 50 states beginning Monday morning.

The run-throughs and tabletop exercises and hours and hours of Zoom calls are necessary because dealing with the Pfizer vaccine takes training and great organization.

— Elizabeth Weise

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are loaded Sunday onto a truck for shipping at the Pfizer Global Supply manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich.

California hospital pleads with residents to follow COVID protocols

With zero percent hospital capacity left, a main lobby turned into a COVID-19 unit and a shortage of healthcare workers who are suffering from illnesses and burnout, Providence St. Mary Medical Center officials are now pleading with local residents to follow coronavirus protocol. 

The situation at the California hospital isn’t unique. Across the country, health centers are reaching their breaking points, crammed with coronavirus patients and running out of resources, including staff. But Providence St. Mary directors and front-line healthcare workers are asking for the support of citizens to help slow the spread locally.

Source: USA today

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