Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield is one of three company locations in America set to make a COVID-19 vaccine. The drug maker has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve emergency use of its immunization it says has been shown to be 95% effective.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed – a national effort to fast track the vaccine rollout – says the plan is to ship vaccines to U.S. immunization sites 24 hours after federal approval. He tells CNN he expects that to happen around December 11 or 12. Slaoui says the efforts could get the U.S. back to normal life around May.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly that the vaccine effort is moving quickly.
“Pfizer has applied for their use permit. We expect Moderna to do that within a couple of weeks. Between the two of them, they’ll have enough vaccine in December for the first 20 million Americans and they’re likely healthcare workers, people in nursing homes and people who would be the most at risk to get that vaccine. We expect a couple of other companies to quickly follow near the first of the year,” says Blunt. “After you get through that first group of healthcare workers and people most negatively affected, the next group – about 35% of the entire population – would be the essential workers of the country – people who are working at food processing facilities and grocery stores, daycare centers, school bus drivers, school teachers.”
According to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams, phase 1 of the state’s plan could reach 250,000 of the most vulnerable citizens.
The department has identified five hospital sites to administer the vaccine but has not yet announced the names. Williams says patients from long-term care centers and assisted living centers, for instance, will have to be transported to an immunization site.
Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines require two doses at varying intervals.
The vaccine must be kept chilled at -94F and can only be removed from that temperature four times. It will be sent in batches every seven days.
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