Shipments of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer began arriving at distribution sites around the U.S., including hospitals in New York, Michigan, Massachusetts and Maine on Monday.
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval for the vaccine candidate created by Pfizer and BioNTech to be delivered in the U.S. Officials said over the weekend, the first shipments would go out starting Monday to 636 locations nationwide identified by the states and the territories. Many of those sites are health systems.
Officials have said Pfizer has 6.4 million doses available but are holding back 500,000 doses in reserve as a fail-safe for any problems that arise. From the remaining doses, they plan to hold back half to ship later this month to ensure all those who receive the first dose of the vaccine receive the required second dose.
The Detroit Free Press reported crowds cheered as shipments left Pfizer facilities for distribution centers and airports Monday morning.
Minutes ago, trucks filled with #coronavirus vaccines departed the @pfizer facility in Portage, Mich., headed for distribution centers and airports. Crowds who gathered outside the facility cheered the departing @FedEx and @UPS trucks. https://t.co/F29rcw6WcV pic.twitter.com/ZsTG2h5vJI— Detroit Free Press (@freep) December 13, 2020
Within the hour, the first shipments began arriving at distribution sites. At Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, officials said they received their vaccines at 9 a.m. Monday morning.
It’s a great day at Michigan Medicine, which received 1,950 doses of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech vaccine at about 9 a.m. this morning. We plan to begin vaccinating our employees who are most at risk this week. pic.twitter.com/th0X7TBjXH— Michigan Medicine (@umichmedicine) December 14, 2020
CBS Boston News reported Boston Medical Center was also among hospitals to receive vaccines.
At Northwell Health in New York City, nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first New Yorker to receive the vaccine in a publicized immunization.
Tampa General Hospital received its first doses via FedEx truck at 10:10 a.m. with the first shot administered to a nurse about an hour later, reported WFLA News Channel 8.