By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — United States officials say the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine will start arriving in the states on Monday morning. But, the big question is when will it arrive in the Philadelphia area.

The FDA approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use late Friday night and now trucks will start rolling out Sunday morning with shipments of the vaccine.

It’s a major milestone as the national death toll from the virus reaches nearly 300,000 Americans.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says Philadelphia is currently in the worst part of the pandemic with 1,000 cases a day, 100 people dying per week and hospitals filing up.

The Pfizer vaccine will help but it is going to take time.

The newly approved Pfizer vaccine will make its way to Pennsylvania early next week.

Farley says the end of the pandemic is in sight.

“We got a long way to go between here and there but it’s good to get started,” Farley said.

People will need to take two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart.

“My school Rowan School of Medicine has been approved as a vaccination center so I’m excited that’s something students and faculty can help out with,” South Jersey resident Ashley Asensio said.

Farley says at least 70% of the population needs to be inoculated in order for the vaccine to be effective.

“We need a big percentage of the population to have antibodies so when the virus is spreading from one person to the next, most of the people around that person won’t get infected and so they won’t spread it to others,” Farley said.

But not everyone is interested in getting the vaccine.

“It hasn’t been tested and been out there long enough to know what the side effects are and considering a person like myself with health issues, no,” Northeast Philly resident Tracey Marshall said. “No, it might make my situation worse.”

Tracey Marshall and Marvella Johnson believe the vaccine was manufactured with too much haste but experts say to date there haven’t been any severe adverse reactions.

“The trial included many people with underlying conditions as a matter of fact they sought out people with greater risks to take part in the trials and they did not have adverse reactions,” Farley said.

As the country waits for the vaccine, Dr. Farley suggests we all get used to keeping out masks on. He estimates we’ll still be wearing them through 2021.


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