The US authorities are “very carefully” examining the spread of viruses in the UK, senior health officials said on Sunday, while pointing out that a travel ban for the UK is not currently in sight.
The news came when a US panel of experts recommended that people aged 75 and over should be vaccinated against the virus next, along with 30 million frontline essential workers, including teachers, grocery store clerks and police.
Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to the government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccination program, told CNN’s State of the Union that US officials “don’t yet know” whether it is in the country.
“We are of course checking it very carefully,” he said, at the National Institutes of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.
At the moment, he said, no strain of the virus appears to be resistant to the vaccines available.
“It is very unlikely that this particular variant has escaped immunity in the UK,” said Slaoui.
“I don’t think there is any cause for concern at the moment,” agreed Admiral Brett Giroir, the US officer overseeing coronavirus testing, when asked about the new twist on ABC’s “The Week”.
When asked if the United States would likely follow the example of European countries that have suspended flights from the United Kingdom, Giroir replied, “I really don’t think we have to do this anymore.”
Almost eight million more Covid-19 vaccine doses are due to be shipped to the US on Monday, Slaoui told CNN – two million of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and 5.9 million of the Moderna vaccine, which was given the go-ahead on Friday.
The first Moderna shot was “most likely tomorrow morning,” he said.
The outbreak may get worse
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 2.8 million doses of vaccine were distributed over the past week while 556,208 doses were administered.
While Vice President Mike Pence has done this publicly and President-elect Joe Biden is due to do so on Monday, President Donald Trump has not yet indicated that he will be taking the vaccine anytime soon.
Given concerns about vaccine skepticism, Giroir encouraged Trump to do so for his own health – “and also to instill more trust among the people who follow him so closely.”
Covid-19 killed more than 316,000 people in the United States, with more than 200,000 new infections occurring daily and around 3,000 people dying every 24 hours.
With vaccines on the move, the light is at the end of the tunnel – but Slaoui warned that the situation will “get worse” before it gets better, citing a surge after Thanksgiving and the upcoming end of year holidays.
Later in the day, an advisory panel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control voted to recommend which groups should be in the second wave of vaccinations after first doses focused on frontline health workers and elderly people in nursing homes.
It recommended “Frontline Essential Worker” with people over 75 years of age.
The panel estimates that there are around 30 million people in the frontline workforce, from teachers to postal workers to police and fire services.
In a subsequent phase, people between 65 and 74 years of age, along with other key workers, would receive doses as recommended.
The CDC will later decide whether to adopt the recommendations, while individual states can ultimately decide how to distribute their recordings.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)