KT edit: Why the visuals of first jabs in the US offer hope

Close to 500,000 doses have been kept to address gaps in distribution, and some White House and other officials are likely to receive the jabs too.

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Published: Tue 15 Dec 2020, 3:05 PM

The US is poised for a long and arduous winter. The number of Covid-19 cases have peaked and currently stand at 16.77 million, the number of deaths have reached 306,623 and just last week, the country witnessed the highest number of hospitalisations that exceeded 100,000. While the health implications are obvious, the impact on the economy has been acute too. Amid the carnage unleashed by the pandemic, the US Food and Drug Authority recently authorised an emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that was administered to healthcare officials and other front liners on Monday. In the US, however, the need to spotlight these moments is also more important now than ever, as talk of anti-vaccination gains steam. The argument offered often revolves around the long-term impact a vaccine could have, which has raised eyebrows among a certain section of Americans.

Amid a growing, even if peripheral talking point such as this, it is important to win the confidence of the masses, which is why all the sights and sounds of healthcare professionals receiving jabs are reassuring in their own way. Stationed at the Northwell Long Island Jewish Medical Center, ABC reported on a critical care nurse who was vaccinated in the morning, an event that was also streamed live for the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo’s reaction ‘You didn’t flinch’ also sent out a powerful message to the sceptics. Though it’ll be a while before the vaccines reach a wider population, it is necessary to win their confidence and emphasise on the role vaccines can play in containing the virus.

Pfizer, which has shipped close to three million doses in first batch, and will be sending out a second shipment soon, has used a genetic technology to develop the vaccine, and has claimed an efficacy of 95 per cent. Close to 500,000 doses have been kept to address gaps in distribution, and some White House and other government officials are likely to receive the jabs too. According to the World Health Organisation, there are approximately 52 vaccines being developed, some of which have already reached the human trials stage. While much of this year has been characterised by devastation caused by the pandemic, the idea and image of brave front liners receiving the jabs surely offer hope.


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