COVID vaccine live updates: California to get 400K more doses; nursing home residents get shots next week; Moderna would be 2nd to roll out

1 in 20 Americans has tested positive

One in 20 Americans has tested positive for COVID-19, Johns Hopkins University data and Census Bureau population estimates show

The United States is now reporting more than 1.5 million cases each week, at a rate of about 150 every minute, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins coronavirus data show. Even New York state, America’s initial epicenter, is now reporting coronavirus cases at a rate faster than it did in the spring.

Every state except Florida and Hawaii have reported more cases in a week of November or December than they have at any time in the pandemic.

– Mike Stucka

New Hampshire gives first dose outside in 27-degree weather

A nurse who volunteered to be New Hampshire’s first person vaccinated was given her dose of the COVID-19 vaccine outside on a chilly Tuesday morning.

“This is a typical New England-New Hampshire day, so nothing we can’t handle,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in the 27-degree weather.

Heidi Kukla, the intensive care nurse who received the first vaccine, said she asked to go first “because I know a lot of people have reservations about getting the vaccine.”

“They’re worried about how fast it was produced, what the long-term effects may be, but I can assure you that there is absolutely nothing worse than being a patient on a ventilator in an ICU anywhere in this country right now with COVID, and the anguish of the family members that can’t be there,” Kukla said.

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Maine ‘off and running’ with first doses

Health care workers at Maine Medical Center in Portland were the first people to receive the vaccine in the state Tuesday as it began its roll-out, state health officials confirmed.

“We are off and running,” said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah as the state joined others in starting its vaccine distribution.

Like other states, Maine is starting by inoculating health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.

Moderna would be second vaccine to roll out, possibly next week

The United States may have two coronavirus vaccines by the end of the week as data released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and highly effective. An independent advisory committee to the FDA will review the data in an all-day meeting on Thursday. If it decides that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks, then the vaccine is expected to be authorized later in the week by the FDA commissioner.

Then, an independent advisory committee to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will review the data on Friday and, if the FDA authorizes it, will vote on Saturday whether to add the vaccine to the nation’s vaccine schedule for adults.

As with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, it will then begin to be distributed across the country, likely Monday. Moderna’s vaccine will be given only to adults as the company has not accumulated enough data to include in its authorization request to the FDA. This means it will not be given to 16- and 17-year-olds, unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

– Karen Weintraub and Adrianna Rodriguez

New Jersey nurse first in state to get vaccine on her birthday

A nurse at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, was the state’s first health care worker vaccinated and received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on her 56th birthday, no less.

“This is the best birthday present ever,” said Maritza Beniquez.

Beniquez was inoculated at 8:10 a.m., 286 days after the first patient in New Jersey was diagnosed with the coronavirus disease and nearly a year after reports of a previously unknown disease emerged from central China.

After the shot had been given, Beniquez said, “Thank you god!” She smiled and made a fist with her right arm, then clasped her hands together as if in prayer.

– Lindy Washburn and Ashley Balcerzak, The Bergen Record

Puerto Rico begins vaccinations with respiratory therapist

U.S. territory Puerto Rico began vaccinating health care workers Tuesday when a respiratory therapist who treated the first two COVID-19 patients hospitalized on the island received her first shot.

Yahaira Alicea urged everyone to get vaccinated, saying, “This is what we want, for this pandemic to end.”

Alicea treated an Italian couple in March that had fallen ill with the virus and were visiting Puerto Rico on a cruise. The woman later died, and Alicea said it was a fearful moment for her that wore her down physically and emotionally.

CDC: Nursing homes will begin immunizations next week

The vast majority of nursing homes in the United States won’t start vaccinating staff and residents against COVID-19 until Dec. 21, and some won’t start until Dec. 28, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monday’s rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine brought confusion nationwide as it became clear long-term care facilities and nursing homes were not taking part in the initial immunizations, despite the CDC’s decision last week to include residents in the first phase of distribution.

That’s because the majority of long-term care facilities opted to take part in a federal program that uses pharmacy chains, including CVS, Walgreens and others, to facilitate vaccination of both staff and residents.

The Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care program will launch Dec. 21 for jurisdictions that opted to use the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. More than 1,100 vaccination clinics at long-term care facilities across the country are scheduled to occur on that day, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said.

– Elizabeth Weise and Tom Mooney

California to receive nearly 400K more Pfizer doses next week

Hours after California’s first health care workers received the COVID-19 vaccine Monday in Los Angeles, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter that the nation’s most populous state will receive an additional 393,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine next week.

The state received 33,000 doses on Monday. ICU nurse Helen Cordova was the first health care worker to get the vaccine at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “Protect me,” she said as a colleague gave her the vaccine.

New York nurse feels ‘hopeful’ after getting state’s first coronavirus vaccine

Health care workers across the United States received the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine Monday, a landmark step in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

A nurse in New York City became the first person in that state – and likely the nation – to receive a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the only one so far authorized in the U.S to combat the coronavirus.

“I feel hopeful today,” said Sandra Lindsay, the critical care nurse at New York’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center, after she received the shot.

Vaccinations also occurred in North Carolina, Rhode Island, Florida, Ohio and several other states. A total of 145 sites were to receive vaccines Monday, 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

Jim Justice, governor of West Virginia, and other state officials get vaccinated

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice became one of the first top elected officials in the country to receive a coronavirus shot on Monday night, saying “it’s as safe as can be.”

He and aides received the injections even though the state’s rollout is supposed to prioritize giving the highly sought-after doses to health care workers and people in long-term care centers. Justice has said West Virginia does not expect to receive enough doses in the initial few weeks of rollout to fully cover the over 100,000 people who work in health care, live or work in long-term care centers, or are first responders and public health officials.

Wearing a mask, he received a jab in his right arm from a state pharmacy board official and promptly received an adhesive bandage — and a sticker. Marty Wright, the head of the West Virginia Health Care Association, said he “applauded” the governor’s move.

When can I get a vaccine in my state?

Vaccine roll outs will start with health care workers and then will be phased out to other portions of the population. Several states reported that their first shipments arrived Monday, including in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

Tuesday morning, the first vaccinations in Illinois were planned at Loretto Hospital on Chicago’s West Side and at the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Meanwhile, Tennessee officials say the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine won’t arrive at hospitals until Thursday, days after some facilities expected to begin vaccination, as Tennessee falls behind other states.

Alex Azar, Jerome Adams applaud immunizations at DC hospital

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Surgeon General Jerome Adams were on hand at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., to witness doctors and nurses get the first shots of the vaccine Monday.

“To be 11 months into this world pandemic and to be here at George Washington to see doctors and nurses, the heroic frontline health care workers, receive this protection, it’s a momentous event,” Azar said outside the hospital.

Azar also stressed the importance of getting the vaccine to vulnerable populations and highlighting the independent checks that show the vaccine is safe and effective.

“The process has integrity to it based on science, evidence and the law,” Azar said.

– Ken Alltucker

More Americans say they’d get vaccine

An increasing number of Americans said they’d definitely or probably get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were deemed safe by experts and made free for the public, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found.

In December, 71% of Americans said they’d get the vaccine, up from just 61% in September. Meanwhile, over a quarter of Americans are “vaccine hesitant,” saying they probably or definitely would not get one.

EU to assess Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week

The European Union’s health regulators moved up a meeting to assess the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Monday after facing pressure from Germany’s health minister and other European nations.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters earlier Tuesday that the goal was for approval before Christmas and vaccinations to begin before the end of the year.

First wild animal tests positive in US

Mink in Utah is first wild animal to test positive for COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Monday. The animal was part of wildlife surveillance for the virus in infected mink farms in Utah, Michigan and Wisconsin between Aug. 24 to Oct. 30.

The agency said there is no evidence that the virus has spread in wild populations around infected mink farms.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY

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