A week after planes and trucks carried the first Covid-19 vaccine across the United States, inching a weary public toward hope, the second was shipped to sites around the country. The Moderna vaccine, like Pfizer’s, requires two shots, spaced weeks apart. The Food and Drug Administration authorized its emergency use on Friday.
The rollout comes as the virus shows no signs of abating in the United States — parts of California are down to their last I.C.U. beds and some hospitals in other states are at or over capacity — or around the world, as a new mutation prompted chaotic lockdowns in Britain and bans on travel from the United Kingdom in many countries.
The numbers are still as high and alarming as they have ever been: At least 317,800 people have died in the United States, more than anywhere in the world.
Many of the first vaccine shots went to health care workers. Joining them Monday will be residents and staff members of hard-hit nursing homes, set to begin inoculating their residents through Walgreens or CVS this week, part of a deal struck with the federal government. These facilities have felt the brunt of the pandemic: At least a third of the nation’s deaths have been reported in nursing homes and long-term-care facilities, and many residents have been isolated from loved ones for much of the year.
The two vaccines, from Moderna and from Pfizer and BioNTech, were developed and approved on a historic timeline and promised to nations around the world. Britain has already begun vaccinations, starting several days before the United States. The European Union’s drug authority, the European Medicines Agency, granted authorization on Monday for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, was expected to rubber-stamp the decision later in the day, paving the way for millions of doses to be transferred by Pfizer to all 27 European Union member states.
At the same time, a large portion of people in the United States have said they will not get vaccinated. In part to persuade the public of the safety of the vaccines, some world leaders have broadcast themselves getting the injections.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is the latest, scheduled to get vaccinated on Monday. He and his wife, Jill Biden, will receive their shots during a live television event in Delaware. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will get vaccinated after Christmas, a spokeswoman said. Doctors recommended Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris stagger their first shots rather than receive them together.
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