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US receives first COVID-19 vaccinations as death toll hits record high

Just in time? The Pfizer vaccine has begun its campaign across the United States as the country hits a horrifying milestone.

This morning, it was reported that over 300,000 Americans had lost their lives to COVID-19. The United States is currently leading the world’s COVID death toll, followed by Brazil (est. 181,000) and India (est. 143,000). Thankfully, the nation’s first round of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations were administered on Monday (December 14th), kicking off a nationwide campaign against the virus.

Frontline healthcare workers are among the first to receive the 2.9 million vaccines rolling out this week.

covid-19 vaccine pfizer
Photograph: Mark Lennihan,AP

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved on December 11 for emergency usage. According to the United States’ top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, it is predicted that the average, healthy American citizen could have access to the vaccine as early as March 2021. All vaccinated patients will be required to receive a booster shot approximately 21 days after their first dose.

Canada also announced their own vaccination campaign, with healthcare workers receiving the country’s first jab yesterday. 30,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will continue to be rolled out across the country.

The announcement follows an aggressive second wave across the country, which has resulted in a dramatic spike in cases (est. 466,715) and deaths (est. 13,000 ). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the general population can expect vaccine access in April, but initial priority will be given to long-term healthcare workers in Ontario and Quebec.

Although this is good news, the fight against Covid-19 is far from over. Former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb has predicted that coronavirus infections will peak in January if Americans continue to ignore warnings and restrictions during the holiday season.

For now, frontline healthcare workers can celebrate the “relief” of finally receiving a vaccination. Australia will be joining Britain, China, Canada, and the US in a vaccine rollout, securing 10 million Pfizer doses.