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Trump, Fauci, and Pfizer CEO all willing to take COVID-19 vaccines

Anjalee Khemlani
·Senior Reporter
·3 min read
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The first shots in New York were given live to two volunteer frontline workers at Northwell Health. But questions remain on how to convince a large majority of the general public to follow suit.

A number of high-profile individuals have said they are willing to take the vaccine, including the company’s CEO.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNN he would likely take the vaccine, as polls showed the CEO taking it would help boost confidence.

“Given that there are very strict allocation rules ... we are very sensitive not to cut the queue,” Bourla added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, told MSNBC Monday he would be willing to take the vaccine publicly.

President Donald Trump said he, too, was willing to take the vaccine, “at the appropriate time.” Trump made the comments after reports that White House staff would get access to the vaccine before the general public.

Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool)
Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool)

First shots

The first vaccine to protect against COVID-19 is landing at airports and has arrived at health systems, and some of the first shots were already administered Monday morning.

University Hospital in New Jersey was one of two in the state to receive its shipment of the Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) vaccine, and its CEO told Yahoo Finance the health system has 3,000 doses for its first round.

“We’re going to be getting shipments every single week until we end up vaccinating all of our health workers,” Dr. Shereef Elnahal said, adding that the shots will be staggered so not all ICU workers will get the vaccine in one day.

That is due to the side effects that many trial participants reported, such as headache, fever and fatigue— common side effects to other vaccines as well.

“Then, we’re going to be tasked with vaccinating health care workers in the community. Your community physicians, your community nurse practitioners, nurses, etc. So all of that is happening in the coming weeks,” he said.

In order to remove any potential confusion for dosing, as Moderna’s (MRNA) vaccine is expected to be authorized as soon as this week, health systems are only receiving one company’s vaccine, Elnahal said. So the hospital will only be using Pfizer’s vaccine.

Logistic challenges

But in order to get to the hospital, a hyper-vigilant team of logistics experts at UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) had to monitor the temperature of the shipments at every moment.

UPS SVP of Healthcare and Sciences, Kate Gutmann, told Yahoo Finance that things went smoothly for the first shipments, moving from East Cost to West Coast.

“We’re actually delivering early, and the temperature has been spot on. So there is a deviation range that is an allowed tolerance and none have deviated from that,” Gutmann said.

The health systems are acting as hubs, from which deliveries to pharmacies and other local sites will take place, Gutman said. That will set up the infrastructure for administration at nursing homes, which are also part of the first round of vaccinations.

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