The super-cooled shipments of the newly approved coronavirus vaccine rolled out Sunday for rapid air freight distribution to regional hubs across the United States.
Health care workers and elderly people in long-term care facilities will be first in line to receive the first round of 2.9 million doses at a time when cases are surging in the United States. The U.S. has recorded more cases than any other country, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
The Food and Drug Administration late Friday approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use. The vaccine must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius before being used.
The U.S. federal government is planning to accelerate vaccinations in the weeks ahead, particularly if a vaccine by Moderna is also approved soon.
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group met Saturday and recommended the vaccine for widespread use for those 16 and older. It will later address whether groups such as pregnant women and those younger than 16 should be vaccinated.
The vaccine was first approved in Britain earlier this month, and British residents began receiving vaccinations last Tuesday. Canada also approved the vaccine and expects to begin inoculations in the coming days.