Sandra Lindsay is inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine by Dr Michelle Chester in New York on Monday. Reuters
The United States kicked off a mass vaccination drive Monday hoping to turn the tide on the world's biggest coronavirus outbreak, as the country's death toll neared a staggering 300,000.
A nurse in New York became the first person in the US to be vaccinated when she received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot live on television.
"I feel great. I feel relieved," said Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Centre, imploring all Americans to "to do our part" by getting vaccinated.
"I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history," she added.
The landmark moment comes at one of the darkest phases of the pandemic, with infections in the United States and many other countries soaring, and health experts still struggling against vaccine skepticism, lockdown fatigue and uneven adherence to safety rules.
The US has the world's highest death toll of more than 299,000, and the largest number of reported cases, at 16.2 million — including more than 1.5 million new infection in just the past week.
"First vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!" tweeted President Donald Trump.
Delivery trucks with special refrigeration equipment were rolling out across America, as part of a public-private plan to ship millions of doses of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to vulnerable Americans.
Courier services FedEx and UPS have deployed fleets of trucks and planes to carry their precious cargo — sometimes under armed guard — to all 50 states, where health care workers and nursing-home residents will be first in line.
An initial 2.9 million doses are set to be delivered by Wednesday, with officials saying 20 million Americans could receive the two-shot regimen by year end, and 100 million by March.
UPS and FedEx were to ship glass vials of the vaccine to 636 sites around the country by Wednesday.
Doses are being shipped in boxes containing dry ice that can keep supplies at — 70˚C, the frigid temperature needed to preserve the drug.
The call came as the United States, the country worst hit by the virus, kickstarted the biggest vaccination drive in its history by giving the jab to a nurse in New York.
This sparked some confusion — while an advisory panel recommended emergency use approval for Moderna's vaccine on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give the final verdict allowing distribution — expected later on Friday.
In a recent survey, people who said social distancing and COVID-safety guidelines violated their personal freedoms responded more positively to these ideas when they felt a loved one might be at risk of severe illness.
Kemp, Raffensperger and their aides are working quietly with Republican legislators to craft changes to absentee and early voting they believe can strike a balance. That may mean jettisoning or at least relaxing some of the proposals circulating in the Republican-run General Assembly,
Officials had warned that waves could reach three metres (10 feet) above high tide levels after the quakes - the strongest a magnitude 8.1 - but the threat had passed by the afternoon, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
The state of emergency, which is a non-binding request, centers around asking restaurants, bars and other businesses to voluntarily close at 8pm. Japan has never had a mandatory lockdown, but has managed to keep infections relatively low with social distancing and such voluntary measures.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that “the Assad regime has tried to avoid accountability by obstructing independent investigations and undermining the role and work of the OPCW,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons