U.K. set to begin vaccinating against COVID-19 Tuesday

ByHeather Grubola via WPVI logo
Monday, December 7, 2020
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The United Kingdom is set to start the largest mass vaccination program in its history Tuesday. Here in the U.S., we are inching closer to the first hearing to authorize a vaccine

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The United Kingdom is set to start the largest mass vaccination program in its history Tuesday. Here in the U.S., we are inching closer to the first hearing to authorize a vaccine against coronavirus.

The logistics of rolling out the vaccine are very complicated for every country, but it's a light at the end of a very long tunnel and health officials are planning for every step along the way.

The first COVID-19 vaccinations, outside of a clinical trial, are scheduled to be given Tuesday in the United Kingdom. The first doses will go to the elderly, healthcare workers and nursing home staff.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNtech was authorized there last week. But it does come with extra challenges - it has be shipped and stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

"It's a massive logistical exercise. Lots of people working really hard, but a moment to be optimistic," said Scotland's Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Hari Shukla and his wife also feeling hopeful, they'll be among the first to receive the vaccine.

"And so I am not nervous or anything like that, I'm looking forward to it," he said.

Here in the U.S., Pfizer's vaccine is set for a hearing with the FDA on Thursday.

Officials said if authorized, the vaccine could be shipped within 24 hours doses will go to all 50 states, eight territories and six major cities - including Philadelphia. Hospitals have been receiving special freezers in preparation.

The first doses will go to healthcare workers and staff and residents at long-term care facilities.

CVS and Walgreens have partnered with the CDC to administer the vaccine at those facilities.

CVS put out a call to healthcare workers. The company is looking to hire thousands of nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to help. CVS Health CEO, Larry Merlo, said they have a system already in place.

"Our pharmacists, our nursing professionals have gone to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities for several years conducting seasonal flu clinics," said Merlo.

Here in the U.S., we expect Pfizer's vaccine to be shipped first as well. Then, a hearing for Moderna's vaccine is scheduled for December 17th.

But keep in mind, the advisors reviewing the data could ask for more information which would push back a decision.