Historic US Covid vaccine campaign launches with convoy of trucks

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Rival US companies UPS and FedEx are working side-by-side to ship the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, after it was approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday.

"We want our senior citizens, health care workers and first responders to be first in line", said Trump.

Three trucks carrying pallets of boxed, refrigerated vaccines rolled away from the central MI facility of Pfizer, escorted by body armour-clad security officers in a pickup truck and an SUV.

The chief officer of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's vaccine development program, Army General Gustave Perna, said at a news conference Saturday that shipping companies will initially deliver vaccine doses to almost 150 distribution centers, and an additional 450 or so facilities will get the vaccine by Wednesday. Officials say vaccines should be available to everyone by the middle of next year. Another vaccine by Moderna will be reviewed by an expert panel this week and could get the go-ahead soon afterward.

Familiar UPS and FedEx package delivery drivers are giving the vaccine top priority over holiday gifts and other parcels.

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As the developers have shown commitment to deliver the doses on their own to Mexico, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine holds a major disadvantage of requiring temperature conditions as low as -70 degree Celsius in order for it to be transported.

US officials say it's based on a state's population of people 18 and older.

He further said that governors would decide who would receive the shots first in their states.

The two shipping companies said that they had put plans, which they had been working for months, into action after the coronavirus vaccine received emergency use authorisation, reported The New York Times. Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson (single dose) and AstraZeneca/Oxford University are also in the pipeline.

The vaccine was first approved in Britain earlier this month, and British residents began receiving vaccinations Tuesday. Two doses per person, spaced three weeks apart, are needed for maximum resistance to the COVID-19 pathogen.

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