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Sen. Roy Blunt expects vaccinations for COVID-19 to begin soon

The effort to approve and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine is moving quickly, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said Monday.

“Pfizer has applied for their use permit,” he said. “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 health-care 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.”

Vaccinations will begin with the most vulnerable people.

“After you get through that first group of health-care workers and people most negatively affected, the next group, about 35 percent 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,” Blunt stated.

According to Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, phase one of the state’s plan could reach 250,000 people. 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 drugmaker has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve emergency use of its immunization it said has been shown to be 95 percent effective.

The department has identified five hospital sites to administer the vaccine. Williams said 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.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed — a national effort to fast track the vaccine rollout — said the plan is to ship vaccines to U.S. immunization sites 24 hours after federal approval.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice