Healthcare workers and elderly people in long-term care facilities are expected to be the main recipients of the first wave of 2.9 million shots this month, with healthcare worker inoculations as soon as Monday and nursing home residents by the end of next week, US Army General Gustave Perna said on a Saturday press call.
Despite months of preparation, distributing and administering the vaccine to as many as 330 million recipients poses a major logistical challenge, he said. The vaccine has complex shipping requirements and must be stored at -70 Celsius.
“We have a lot of work to do. We are not taking a victory lap. We know road ahead of us will be tough,” Perna said.
Pfizer’s vaccine was authorized for use by US regulators on Friday. Cases are surging in the United States, with thousands of deaths per day, while hospital intensive care units across the country are nearing capacity. More than 295,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.