PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Friday was the deadline for states to submit requests and plans for the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that could be available as early as one week from today. The FDA review will begin on Thursday, Dec. 10, and many are expecting quick action.
There is a lot of intense planning underway right now in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware about where the vaccine goes and who gets the first shots.
“Several New Jersey hospitals are prepositioning to receive the first shipments of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Murphy says New Jersey is expecting to receive the first 76,000 doses of a COVID vaccine as soon as it’s cleared by the FDA and half-a-million by the end of the year.
“The light on the other side of this pandemic is real,” Murphy said. “It is now becoming visible and this is a game changer.”
The process starts on Dec. 10 with the first review from FDA advisors. Authorization is expected to quickly follow.
Pfizer and Moderna are expected to provide about 40 million doses by the end of the year, enough for up to 20 million people. It’s recommended the first doses go to approximately 21 million health care personnel and 3 million residents of long-term care facilities.
“We are going to ask some of our larger health systems to be able to receive the vaccine directly,” Delaware Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong said.
Hong says that the state’s first 8,700 doses vaccine doses will go to health care workers.
Delaware now has a record-high number of COVID cases and there’s a new stay-at-home advisory in effect, along with a universal mask mandate.
“If you don’t have to leave your home and put yourself potentially at risk of exposure, then you should not leave your home,” Hong said.
Pennsylvania, also with record-high COVID numbers, is still working on vaccine distribution plans. Health officials say hospitals will be the first target.
“The vaccine is going to hospitals and hospitals will be immunizing their staff and staff within their area and that will require a balancing of resources,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.
The first batches of the vaccine will be very limited. There won’t be enough for everyone who needs it initially, so health officials and hospitals are currently figuring out who goes to the front of the line.
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