A Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and partner BioNTech was the first to gain the federal government’s permission to go into use in the United States. This is considered a landmark step in efforts to beat the ongoing pandemic as the country has lost almost 300,000 people to the virus. The U.S. reported its 16 millionth COVID-19 case on Saturday, even as a newly authorized vaccine is already being distributed and vaccinations are expected to begin Monday, according to federal officials.

“As I speak today, right now, vaccines are being packaged,” Gen. Gustave Perna, co-leader of Operation Warp Speed in charge of logistics, said Saturday. “Tomorrow morning, vaccines will start rolling from manufacturing to distribution hubs. By Monday, vaccines will be received.” It is said that healthcare workers and nursing staff is first in line to receive these vaccinations and patients will be provided with fact sheets describing the details and side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration department authorized the emergency use of the vaccine late on Friday and claimed that it had no major side effects on its use. The FDA said the vaccine can be given to people aged 16 and older. It is also considering a vaccine by Moderna, which could receive emergency authorization as soon as next week.

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The approval of the vaccine has come at a time when the cases of deaths, hospitalization and infection in the public has soared to record levels in the U.S. The country has failed to put in an effort to slow down the spread of the virus.

The number of daily deaths has reached 3,000 and the healthcare systems seem to be overwhelmed while brimming with full Intensive Care Units in hospitals around the country.

The emergency use approval comes after vaccinations with the Pfizer candidate started in the United Kingdom this week. Other countries like Canada, Bahrain and Mexico have also approved it for emergency use.

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