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UPS and FedEx usually compete fiercely for business. Now, competitors are working side by side to ship the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the first of the vaccines to receive US government approval.
The two shipping companies said they had put into action plans they had been working on for months after the Food and Drug Administration granted clearance for the vaccination emergency late Friday.
At a press conference on Saturday, General Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, told the federal attempt to bring a vaccine to market that boxes were being packed at Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan facility and shipping to UPS and FedEx distribution centers where they are distributed in 636 locations across the country. Pfizer said shipping would begin early Sunday morning.
Mr Perna said 145 sites would receive the vaccine on Monday, 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday.
“Make no mistake, the distribution has started,” he said. UPS expects to ship the vaccine on Sunday morning when employees stationed at Pfizer’s Michigan facility attach special Bluetooth and wireless tracking tags to each shipment. A plane waiting nearby will deliver the vaccine to the company’s Worldport Air Freight Center in Louisville, Kentucky, a sprawling sorting facility spanning 5.2 million square feet. Future shipments of the vaccine will also be trucked to the Louisville hub, which is up to a six-hour drive from Michigan.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for,” said Wes Wheeler, president of the company’s health department, in an interview on Saturday. “We have been planning daily calls for months and go into very small details.”
Wheeler said he had planned to monitor initial vaccine shipments from a newly established 24/7 command center in Louisville, which will be manned at any point by teams of five to ten people who will monitor each vaccine package as it progresses UPS moves the network.
Once the vaccine shipments arrive at the Louisville hub, they are sorted along with other packages and distributed to hospitals and other medical facilities. Every truck driver or airplane pilot will know if they are carrying a vaccine package, Wheeler said. Both UPS and FedEx have announced that the cans will arrive at their destinations the day after they leave Pfizer facilities.
Even before the vaccine was approved, UPS had already started shipping kits containing the medical supplies required for administration, such as alcohol wipes and syringes, Wheeler told a Senate subcommittee this week. UPS and FedEx will split distribution of the vaccine across the country. After these shipments arrive, all Pfizer dispensing points will receive another shipment of 40 pounds of extra dry ice from UPS to help keep the vaccines at a cold temperature, he said.
“You have two strong rivals here in FedEx and UPS who are literally teaming up to make this happen,” Richard Smith, a FedEx executive, told the Senate Subcommittee on Transport and Security on Thursday.
Both companies said the shipments would be closely tracked and monitored and given priority over other packages. To ship the vaccine, Pfizer has developed special containers filled with enough dry ice to keep at least 975 cans cool for up to 10 days. Each comes with a tracking device.
Like UPS, FedEx said it would also attach its own tracking tags to vaccine shipments. Every UPS truck that carries the cans will have a device that tracks its location, temperature, exposure and movement, Mr Wheeler told senators. The company’s trucks will also have escorts, he said Thursday. It is not clear if he was referring to the local police or other government officials or possibly private guards, and he declined to elaborate on this and other details in the interview, citing security concerns. But the trucks leaving Pfizer’s factory are tracked “minute by minute,” he said.
The vaccine delivery kits were put together by McKesson, a medical supplier that has been asked by federal agencies to act as the central distributor of the vaccines and supplies such as syringes and alcohol wipes. Unlike Pfizer, Moderna, whose vaccine could soon be approved, plans to have McKesson package its vaccines alongside supplies, Smith said.
In the case of Pfizer, UPS plans to ship the kits – from a McKesson location in Kentucky – before the vaccine so that errors can be identified with addresses in its system, Wheeler said Thursday. The kits include a syringe, a substance used to dilute the vaccines, personal protective equipment, instructions and mixing vials, he said.
Shippers have spent months upgrading the cold store infrastructure for the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. UPS for example was Installation of ultra-low temperature freezers capable of keeping goods as low as minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit near their air freight centers in the US and Europe. Its Louisville hub also plans to produce more than 24,000 pounds of dry ice a day. FedEx has also added ultra-cold freezers to its US network.
The airlines have also prepared to ship the vaccines, working with aircraft manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Administration to safely move more dry ice than is normally allowed. United Airlines announced on Saturday that it has shipped batches of the vaccine from Brussels to Chicago on five cargo-only flights this month. (Pfizer also makes the vaccine at a facility in Puurs, Belgium.)
UPS also sends the F.A.A. a daily record of his flights so they can take precedence over others, Wheeler said. The company is also in daily contact with officials involved in Operation Warp Speed.
An independent panel of experts that advised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday afternoon recommended the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for people aged 16 and over. This confirmation, which is only available from Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the C.D.C., is an important signal to hospitals and individual healthcare providers that they should continue vaccinating patients.
The confirmation follows the approval of the emergency vaccine on Friday night by the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the licensing of medical devices.
“Based on everything we saw looking at the data, we are very pleased that the safety profile seen in 17 and 16 year olds was acceptable,” said Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s leading vaccine regulator. at a press conference on Saturday.
The C.D.C. The advisory board, which typically meets three times a year to review changes to routine vaccine schedules for children, adolescents and adults, held numerous marathon meetings this fall to address a variety of issues related to introducing limited supplies during a pandemic to discuss the novel vaccine.
During the Friday and Saturday sessions, the panel’s heated discussion focused on three main areas: whether the vaccine should be recommended for patients aged 16 and 17, for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for patients with an anaphylactic reaction to other vaccines .
CDC. Officials and scientists will review the debate and provide more detailed guidance on these and other groups on Sunday and next week as more information about the vaccine becomes available.
This weekend, 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine are scheduled to travel by plane and patrolled truck from facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin to designated locations, mostly hospitals, in all 50 states.
The first injections are expected to be given to high-risk healthcare workers by Monday. This is the first step towards the goal of vaccinating enough Americans by spring to stop the spread of a virus that has killed nearly 300,000 people, made millions sick, and disrupted the country’s economy, education, and everyday life. According to a New York Times database, more than 16 million virus cases have now been reported in the United States.
The rapid development of the vaccine and the emergency approval of the F.D.A. Friday night was a triumph of medicine based on data showing it is 95 percent effective, but much could go wrong at this complicated next stage.
States claim they have only a fraction of the funding they need from the federal government to cast the shot to keep track of who received both doses of the vaccine – a booster is needed three weeks after the first injection – and for other important parts of the effort.
Despite all of the planning and contingent liabilities that have been made over the past few months, there is still great confusion. States receive initial allocations according to a federal formula based solely on their adult population. However, many hospitals say they still don’t know exactly how much they will receive or when the shipments will arrive. Some hospital systems are wavering from the news that their initial allocations will be much lower than they had hoped.
One reason for the lack of first aid is that federal officials decided to ship fewer than half of the 6.4 million doses planned for the first wave.
While there are some differences between their plans, states largely plan to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as to who to vaccinate first: healthcare workers at high risk of exposure to the virus and residents of nursing homes and other nursing home term care facilities, a population that has died from the virus at disproportionately high rates.
On Thursday as F.D.A. The advisory panel discussed whether approval of the Pfizer vaccine should be recommended. The first packages – vaccination cards, masks, visors, information sheets and syringes – arrived at the UPMC Presbyterian, a hospital in Pittsburgh.
The emergency approval for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Friday night sparked a lot of preparation in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the United States. Among them, Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in the New York area, is once the epicenter for coronavirus in the United States.
Organizing the reception and further distribution of the vaccine is a mammoth task. Northwell has set up nine vaccination centers equipped with ultra-cold freezers in or near its Manhattan, Staten Island, Westchester County and Long Island hospitals, and plans to vaccinate tens of thousands of employees once vaccine shipments are expected to arrive on Monday. said Dr. Mark Jarrett, Northwell Chief Quality Officer.
The healthcare system, of 56,000 people who interact with patients, has already received kits of consumables for administering the vaccine, including syringes, alcohol swabs and gloves.
Northwell expects all employees – not just care providers like doctors and nurses, but others like cleaning staff who work in intensive care units and patient rooms – to be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines within five weeks, Jarrett said.
Employees are given appointments for recordings so that they do not have to stand in line and can maintain social distance. A backup list of additional recipients is created in case someone has to cancel an appointment at the last minute.
“The only thing we don’t want is ever to waste a vaccine,” said Dr. Jarrett. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which is transported on dry ice, must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit and then prepared for use.
“Once you’ve thawed and diluted it, you only have six hours to use it,” said Dr. Jarrett. “You definitely want to use whatever dose is in a vial.”
The health system carefully plans staff for vaccination in different units and hospitals to prevent staffing issues from overloading a single unit. The idea is to evenly distribute employees in case they have adverse reactions to the shot – like fever, fatigue, or muscle aches – that require them to stay home from work.
This is even more important when the second dose of the vaccine is given three weeks after the first shot. The rate of side effects was reported to be higher among clinical trial participants after the second dose of the vaccine.
Priority will be given to senior employees and those who make a request because of medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, said Dr. Jarrett.
No employee will be forced to take the vaccine, said Dr. Jarrett – a decision influenced in part by the fact that the vaccine received emergency approval and the standard F.D.A. has not gone through. However, he expects high demand.
“There will be a certain percentage that is afraid to take the vaccine,” he said. “After seeing that the team members get it and are fine, I suspect that most of them will then choose it.”
According to a New York Times analysis of 203 counties, where at least 10 percent of the population is college students, college-home deaths have risen faster than other communities.
In late August and early September, when college students returned to campus and some institutions put rigorous testing programs in place, the number of reported infections rose. However, with serious illness and deaths rare in young coronavirus patients, it was unclear at the time whether the growth of infections on campus would translate into a major health crisis.
But since late August, deaths from the virus have doubled in counties with large college populations, compared to a 58 percent increase in the rest of the nation.
Few of the victims were students, but rather elderly people and others who live and work in the community.
Since the pandemic began, a Times poll found more than 397,000 infections in 1,800 colleges and universities. These cases include more than 90 deaths that have involved college staff and students.
The link between a college outbreak and coronavirus death in the wider community is often indirect and difficult to document, according to public health experts, especially without extensive contact tracing, for which many local US health departments have no resources .
However, researchers have begun to find evidence of connections with students. Paraic Kenny, a cancer geneticist at the Gundersen Medical Foundation’s Kabara Cancer Research Institute, used genetic sequencing to track cases at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and found links between infections at the university and cases and deaths in the surrounding area.
This trend highlighted the central fear of health officials that young adults with limited symptoms could inadvertently transmit the virus, increasing the likelihood that it will ultimately spread to someone who is more at risk.
Experts suggest a number of ways such a spread could occur, including one simple way: More than 1.1 million students work in health-related professions, census data shows, including more than 700,000 who work in their communities as nurses, medical assistants and health workers serve.
However, the spread of the virus can also be more invisible through separation layers.
“All it really takes is a carefree interaction,” said Tali Elfassy, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami.
With the approval of a coronavirus vaccine by the F.D.A. on Friday, the United States became the third highly developed western country, after Great Britain and Canada, to approve such a drug.
But the three countries have different health systems and face different challenges in the race to provide vaccines for millions of people. Here are some similarities and differences:
Is It The Same Vaccine?
The first vaccine to be approved by US regulators and their British and Canadian counterparts is that developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
A few other vaccines, however, come close, notably one developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, and one by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. It could well be that half a dozen or more vaccines will be approved in the coming months.
How central is the rollout?
In the UK a lot. Not in the United States. Somewhere in between in Canada.
With a strong central government and a National Health Service that covers all people, the UK is running the process from London. The national government selected 50 hospitals to receive the vaccine first and made sure they were prepared. decided how much each would get; and rules designed to determine what order people would be allowed to receive.
In the United States, the federal government has the vaccine distributed to every state depending on the population. It is up to states to decide how the doses will be divided among hospitals, clinics, and ultimately drug stores and doctor’s offices.
Canada has a universal health system, but it is decentralized and administered by provinces and territories. For the distribution of vaccines, the central government plans to work through these regional governments. Ottawa will play a huge role in steering the process.
How many people will get it first?
That remains a bit cloudy.
Canada ordered enough Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for all of its population, the UK enough for 30 percent, and the US enough for 15 percent. However, these numbers reflect shipments that are expected to take months to complete, and Pfizer, like other companies, is struggling to ramp up production.
All three countries have also pre-purchased from other companies, so the pace of vaccine approval can significantly affect the speed of adoption. This speed is also affected by the need to equip injection sites with the correct freezers, staff, and enough syringes and protective equipment.
The first shipments are a fraction of the advance purchases – 800,000 cans to the UK and an estimated 249,000 to Canada this month. US officials said they were hoping to have 40 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the month, which could be optimistic.
In Canada, the government sends broadcasts to all 10 provinces. The three northern areas will have to wait. In America, FedEx and UPS will ship vaccines from distribution centers to all parts of the country.
How soon will most people get vaccines?
That is even darker.
The UK, Canada and the United States have followed similar strategies, pre-ordering large numbers of doses – more than enough to vaccinate all – from multiple manufacturers to hedge their bets in case some of the vaccines are banned or some manufacturers have lost production.
The United States has ordered far fewer doses relative to its population than Canada or the UK, and last summer they turned down an offer to increase their pre-order from Pfizer. Administration officials say the numbers are misleading because the government has signed options to buy far more vaccines if it deems it necessary.
However, given strong global demand, it is not clear how quickly pharmaceutical companies can fill their orders, let alone additional orders.
In other global developments:
in the BrazilAccording to Reuters, the number of people who don’t want to take a Covid-19 vaccine has increased from 9 percent in August to 22 percent. President Jair Bolsonaro, a virus skeptic who has continued to criticize coronavirus restrictions, said he would not take a coronavirus vaccine. He was particularly skeptical about China’s Sinovac vaccine. In November, Brazil suspended a late-stage study of the vaccine. Although cases in Brazil decreased in the fall, there has been an increase since early November. There is currently an average of 43,000 cases per day, about twice as many as a month ago.
Brittanya KarmaThe Vietnamese-German rapper and reality television star died on November 29th in Hamburg, where she was born and lived. She was 29. The cause was complications from Covid-19, her agent said.
Charley Pride, who was hailed as the first black country music superstar and is known for hits like “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin” and “Is Anybody Goin ‘to San Antone,” died Saturday at the hospice in Dallas at the age of 86 .
The cause of death was complications from Covid-19, said Jeremy Westby, the singer’s publicist.
Praised as the star who paved the way for other country musicians of color, Mr. Pride has been recognized for his contributions to country music canon. In November he received the Country Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 54th Annual Country Music Association Awards, which he also appeared at.
Some guests at the show, Mr. Pride’s last public event, did not wear masks. However, the organizers said all protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were followed.
Mr. Pride was born in Sledge, Miss., On March 18, 1934, to parents Tessie Stewart Pride and Mack Pride Sr. and began his country music career in the 1960s after signing with RCA Records. He had over 50 hits that made it into the top 10 of the country charts.
Mr. Pride is survived by his wife Ebby Rozene Cohran Pride and children Carlton, Charles and Angela.
A coronavirus outbreak at an Illinois veterans home has killed more than a quarter of its residents and prompted the state to mobilize the Illinois National Guard into the home, said Governor J.B. Pritzker at a press conference on Thursday.
Mr Pritzker said 38 residents of the house, LaSalle Veterans’ Home, had transmitted the virus from a total of 93 residents and three employees were also infected. The governor stressed that every employee was tested with rapid antigen tests before each shift and that residents were tested every day.
Still, some criticize the treatment of the outbreak, which was first spotted in the apartment on November 1. Since then, 89 percent of residents have tested positive for the virus, Republican Sue Rezin said in a letter addressed to veterans at home on Friday. Ms. Rezin said the National Guard medical staff would assist with tests and screenings, and she noted that the move to mobilize the National Guard came five weeks after the first outbreak.
“The fact that this virus was widespread in the facility should be considered unacceptable,” Ms. Rezin wrote in the letter. “With so many unanswered questions, it is important that lawmakers continue their hearings on what is going on at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home,” she said.
There is more research on the outbreak. On Monday, the governor’s office fired the administrator at the LaSalle home, and the nursing director had also been put on administrative leave. The Illinois Department of Veterans, in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs, published reports in November describing various household problems.
Alcohol-free disinfectant – which isn’t effective at eradicating the virus – was stored in mounted dispensers, a report said. Some employees were seen in the kitchen area with masks pulled down to their chins and without social distance. There were employees who wore gloves and touched patients and multiple surfaces “without changing or performing hand hygiene,” the report said. “Transmission opportunities between some employees may have arisen due to the reported negligence of masking and social distancing during working hours and also during breaks.”
Illinois saw a 10 percent decrease in cases and a 14 percent decrease in hospital stays in the past 14 days after recording case records for seven days in early November. Still, deaths in the state have increased 42 percent in the past two weeks.
The F.D.A. Pfizer’s emergency vaccine was approved on Friday, allowing millions of people to start using the vaccine in a matter of days. Even so, the virus continues to decimate the lives of residents at the LaSalle Veterans Home, even with residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities – and health care workers at high risk of exposure – topping the vaccine.
In other news in the United States:
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the director of the Rhode Island Ministry of Health, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. The results came from routine testing, said a spokesman for Governor Gina Raimondo. Dr. Alexander-Scott was asymptomatic. Ms. Raimondo, the Dr. Alexander-Scott last seen in person during a Covid-19 press conference on Thursday is being quarantined. She tested negative on Saturday, said spokesman Josh Block. Rhode Island leads the country in coronavirus cases per capita, averaging 1,240 cases per day, or 117 cases per 100,000 people, for the past week. Der Staat hat damit begonnen, Ärzten und Krankenschwestern, die im Ruhestand sind, den Staat besuchen oder kürzlich Ausbildungsprogramme abgeschlossen haben, befristete Lizenzen zu erteilen.
Laut einer in der Fachzeitschrift Science veröffentlichten Studie können bis zu 300.000 Coronavirus-Fälle in den USA auf eine zweitägige Konferenz in Boston zurückgeführt werden, an der im Februar 175 Biotech-Führungskräfte teilnahmen.
Die britischen Arzneimittelbehörden haben am Mittwoch empfohlen, dass Menschen mit schweren allergischen Reaktionen auf Lebensmittel und Medikamente keinen Pfizer-Coronavirus-Impfstoff erhalten, nachdem zwei Mitarbeiter des Gesundheitswesens, beide mit einer solchen Vorgeschichte, eine schwerwiegende Reaktion hatten.
Der erste Bericht über die britischen Fälle löste Alarm und Verwirrung aus und ließ viele Menschen mit Allergien fragen, ob der neue Impfstoff für sie sicher sein würde.
Folgendes wissen wir bisher:
Beide Arbeiter erlebten eine Anaphylaxie, eine lebensbedrohliche Reaktion, die die Atmung beeinträchtigt und den Blutdruck innerhalb von Minuten oder sogar Sekunden nach Exposition gegenüber einem Allergen senken kann. Beide Arbeiter wurden mit Adrenalin behandelt und haben sich erholt, sagten die Aufsichtsbehörden.
Personen mit einer anaphylaktischen Reaktion auf einen Impfstoff in der Vorgeschichte wurden von den Studien von Pfizer ausgeschlossen, teilten Unternehmensvertreter am Donnerstag mit.
Unter denjenigen, die an den Pfizer-Studien teilnahmen, hatte eine sehr kleine Anzahl von Menschen allergische Reaktionen. Ein von der F.D.A. Am Dienstag gaben 0,63 Prozent der Teilnehmer, die den Impfstoff erhalten hatten, mögliche allergische Reaktionen an, verglichen mit 0,51 Prozent der Personen, die ein Placebo erhielten.
In der späten klinischen Studie von Pfizer hatte einer der 18.801 Teilnehmer, die den Impfstoff erhielten, eine anaphylaktische Reaktion. Dies geht aus Sicherheitsdaten hervor, die von der F.D.A. Keiner in der Placebogruppe tat es.
Ich habe Allergien, sollte ich besorgt sein?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, der landesweit führende Experte für Infektionskrankheiten, sagte am Mittwoch, dass die allergischen Reaktionen die Art der Auswirkungen betreffen, die sich zeigen, wenn ein Impfstoff nicht mehr getestet wird und sich in einer breiteren Verbreitung befindet.
“Wenn ich eine Person wäre, der eine allergische Tendenz zugrunde liegt, möchte ich vielleicht darauf vorbereitet sein, dass ich eine Reaktion bekomme und daher bereit bin, sie zu behandeln”, sagte Dr. Fauci in einem von Dr. Sanjay Gupta moderierten Webcast von CNN, gesponsert von Harvard und dem New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Fauci räumte ein, dass sich herausstellen könnte, dass das Problem viele Menschen betrifft, sagte jedoch, dass andere Impfstoffe irgendwann für die Betroffenen verfügbar sein würden.
Dr. Paul Offit, ein Impfstoffexperte am Kinderkrankenhaus in Philadelphia, sagte, die anfängliche, umfassende Empfehlung in Großbritannien, schwere allergische Reaktionen zu erwähnen, sei eine Überreaktion, die viele Menschen mitten in einer wütenden Pandemie unnötig von einem dringend benötigten Impfstoff abhalten könnte .
Weniger als einer von einer Million Empfängern anderer Impfstoffe pro Jahr in den USA hat eine anaphylaktische Reaktion, sagte Dr. Offit. Diese Reaktionen sind behandelbar und viel leichter zu kontrollieren als ein schwerer Fall von Covid-19, sagte er.
Two men have been charged with stealing 192 ventilators owned by the US government in Miami, authorities said on Friday. When they were stolen, the ventilators — worth $3 million — were being transported to a Covid-19 intensive care center in El Salvador to treat critically ill patients as part of a federal aid program.
Yoelvis Denis Hernandez, who is known as Guajiro, and Luis Urra Montero, who goes by the name Flaco, were indicted on charges of federal conspiracy, possessing stolen goods that were being shipped across state lines and the theft of government property.
According to the indictment, Mr. Hernandez, 42, and Mr. Montero, 24, stole a tractor-trailer in August that was being used to transport the ventilators to Miami International Airport. The tractor-trailer had been left in a lot overnight. After an investigation, most of the ventilators were found, the authorities said.
At the onset of the pandemic, medical professionals and government authorities were concerned about the shortage of ventilators in the United States and in other countries. Since then, however, the country’s medical device manufacturers have ramped up production of the machines. The U.S. now has more than 200,000 critical care ventilators — 155,000 of them in the Strategic National Stockpile — but there aren’t enough specialists to operate them.
In June, a man was charged with stealing ventilators from a Veterans Affairs medical center in Seattle and selling them on eBay.