NIH director says reluctance to take vaccine source of concern, pleads with people to get inoculated

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan, U.S., December 13, 2020.

Morry Gash | Reuters

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said that surveys showing that many Americans are reluctant to receive a Covid-19 vaccine are a “source of great concern for all of us” and urged the public to get inoculated.

“I would like to plead to people who are listening to this this morning, to really hit the reset button on whatever they think they knew about this vaccine that might cause them to be so skeptical,” Collins told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The data is out there now. It has been discussed in a public meeting, all the details on the safety and the efficacy for anybody who wants to look,” he added.

Collins said he wanted people to “disregard all those terrible conspiracy theories.”

“People are dying right now, how could you possibly say, ‘Let’s wait and see,’ if that might mean some terrible tragedy is going to befall?” Collins asked. “And especially for health-care providers, please people, when you look back in a year, and you say to yourself, ‘Did I do the right thing?’ I hope you will be able to say, ‘Yes, because I looked at the evidence.'”

Tucker Higgins

FDA chief hopes first shots administered Monday

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2020.

Kevin Dietsch | Reuters

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn hopes the first people could receive shots of the vaccine on Monday.

“My hope again is that this happens very expeditiously, hopefully tomorrow,” Hahn said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

An advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the vaccine for people 16 years and older on Saturday, following the FDA’s emergency use authorization Friday.

CDC Director Robert Redfield has to sign off on the advisory panel’s recommendation before the shots can be administered. Hahn said he expects Redfield will make his decision soon.

“He is certainly on top of this and has a lot of confidence in the process particularly with ACIP, I’m sure we will be hearing very soon about this,” Hahn said, referring to the advisory panel.

— Spencer Kimball

189 packages containing vaccine leave Michigan facility

Nancy Galloway (L) and Susan Deur cheer as trucks carrying the first shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine that is being escorted by the US Marshals Service, leave Pfizer’s Global Supply facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan on December 13, 2020.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

The first shipments in the U.S. of the vaccine are now out for delivery.

Trucks carrying boxes containing vaccine doses left Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan and are expected to arrive on Monday, according to Pfizer.

189 boxes are shipping to sites across all 50 states and 4 boxes will ship to U.S. territories.

Another 400 boxes will be shipped on Monday with delivery expected Tuesday, Pfizer said.

— Spencer Kimball

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