More than a million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Wednesday.
“The United States today has reached a preliminary but important milestone: jurisdictions have reported that more than one million people have received the first dose of the covid-19 vaccine since the administration began ten days ago,” he said.
In a conference call with journalists, Moncef Slaoui, chief aide to the government’s Operation Warp Speed, said the goal of immunizing 20 million people this month was “unlikely to be achieved”.
However, he said the United States was still looking to reach 100 million people immunized by the end of the first quarter of 2021, and another 100 million in the second quarter.
Redfield urged Americans to continue to respect social distancing and wearing masks until all citizens of the country have been vaccinated.
Two vaccines, those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have so far been approved for distribution by the United States health authorities, which started the vaccination campaign on December 14th.
Three million doses were delivered last week in the United States, with the first vaccine authorized, from Pfizer and BioNTech.
This week, the goal was to distribute six million doses of vaccines from Moderna and another two million from Pfizer.
The Pentagon today announced an order for 100 million additional doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, bringing the total ordered to 400 million doses, half from Pfizer, half from Moderna.
These two vaccines will allow the immunization of 200 million people in the United States, as both need two doses.
Antohony Fauci, a highly respected figure in the United States in the fight against covid-19, said on Wednesday that if the operation to vaccinate the American population goes smoothly, the country could reach the level of 70% to 85% immunization next summer .
The United States is the hardest hit country in the world and faces an extreme cold this winter.
More than 320,000 people have succumbed to the virus and is likely to be the leading cause of death in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer.
Residents of long-term care facilities and health professionals are at the forefront, while the next phase has been defined for people over 75 and essential workers.