The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday that 1 million people in the United States have received their first vaccination against COVID-19, a threshold hit a little more than a week after Pfizer started distributing millions vaccines across the U.S.
The CDC referred to the vaccination threshold as an “early but important milestone” toward ending the pandemic, according to a statement shared by Director Dr. Robert Redfield. With cases surging, said the CDC, the milestone “comes at a critical time.”
.@CDCgov continues to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments and our federal partners to #slowthespread of COVID-19 and distribute #COVID19 vaccine doses quickly. Learn more about the 2 authorized COVID-19 vaccines: https://t.co/LNJjqILgwt https://t.co/FMk7u7rVdn
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) December 23, 2020
According to NBC News, the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered is likely larger than the CDC’s estimation, on account that the data only includes Pfizer vaccinations — not Moderna vaccinations — and also “likely lag by several days.”
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a top doctor for Operation Warp Speed, also said the actual vaccination process was going slower than expected, and as such, the federal government’s goal of administering 20 million doses before next year was “unlikely,” reports NBC News.
Approximately 9.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine have been distributed in the U.S., the CDC said Wednesday morning, according to Reuters.
Amidst the vaccination process, the Trump administration has secured additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the mRNA medical breakthrough that became the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on an emergency basis.
“Securing more doses from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement on Wednesday morning. “This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021.”
Under the new agreement, Pfizer will provide an additional 70 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by June 2021, and another 30 million doses on top of that by the end of July 2021. This puts the U.S. government’s total Pfizer vaccine order at 200 million vaccines — enough for 100 million people — to be delivered in around the next 7 months, according to The Washington Post.
“With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “We look forward to continuing our work with the U.S. government and healthcare providers around the country.”
According to The New York Times, the U.S. government’s latest contract with Pfizer means that the Trump administration has secured enough vaccines for slightly more than 75% of the roughly 260 million Americans who qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.
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