Vaccines Begin in Britain

DECEMBER 8, 2020

The First Pfizer Vaccine Went to William Shakespeare as COVID-19 Mass Inoculations Began Today

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via NPR

An 81-year-old British man named William Shakespeare has become the first man in the world to receive a fully approved coronavirus vaccine. Shakespeare followed 90-year-old Margaret Keenan, who was the first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as part of the mass vaccination program being rolled out across Britain.

Keenan, who turns 91 next week, received the jab while wearing a penguin-themed Christmas T-shirt and described it as the “best early birthday present” she could have had. “It means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being on my own for most of the year." Some 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be given to Brits in the coming weeks.

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100 Million Doses Go To Americans by Year's End

To vaccinate American’s 328 million residents and end a pandemic killing thousands every day is historic, said Dr. Thomas Tsai, a health policy researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The United States has a highly decentralized medical system. Operation Warp Speed, the government effort to create vaccines, is very centralized. But once those vaccines are distributed they hit a system of health departments and emergency management programs at the state level each with its own rules, requirements and infrastructure.

How much vaccine each state will get at the beginning is theoretically based on simple math. “The first amount is 6.4 million doses divided by state population, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, adding "who will get vaccine first is pretty set. Front-line healthcare workers and people in long-term care facilities." Americans will begin receiving vaccines before by the end of the year.

Trump Orders Priority Access to U.S. COVID-19 Vaccines for Americans

The goal for Operation Warp Speed was to deliver safe vaccines that work, with the first supply becoming available before the end of 2020. Yet when a vaccine is authorized or approved in the United States, there may not be enough doses available for all adults.

Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo confirmed, “The U.S. government placed an initial order of 100 million doses for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, and Pfizer is ready to begin shipping initial doses soon after receiving an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Any additional doses beyond the 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually acceptable agreement.”

The New York Times reported that Pfizer may not be able to provide more of its vaccine to the United States until next June, due to its commitments to other countries.

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday to ensure that priority access for COVID-19 vaccines procured by the U.S. government are given to the American people before assisting other nations, senior administration officials said Monday.

Nevertheless, Britain has become the first Western nation to begin mass-inoculations, and will undoubtedly become the first nation to vaccinate its entire population by Spring 2021.

All the World's a Stage

Make sense of the week's news. Charlatan reviews the world's show & message.

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2020’s Vice Presidential Debate

During the Continental Congress — an incubus of 13 British Colonies that plotted to become Americans — Benjamin Franklin referred to the role of a Vice President as “His Superfluous Excellency.”

While most voters are stultified by a vice-presidential candidate, 2020's contest is piquing more interest. Former Vice President Joe Biden is 77, and after spending 47 years in public service (County Councilman, Senator, Vice President of the United States) arguably finds himself in the twilight of his life.

The incumbent, President Donald Trump, is now 74, and in addition to his 3.5 years of political experience, the self-proclaimed ‘Washington outsider’ has contracted the novel coronavirus one month ahead of an historic election. He joins the nearly 8 million Americans who’ve been diagnosed with the mysterious illness, over 217,000 of whom have perished, at a time and time when the United States is the global epicenter of the Coronavirus. The role of Vice President has simply never been more critical than in Election 2020.

Over 57 million people watched Wednesday's VP debate across eighteen channels on television, far more than either of the last two Vice Presidential debates, and internet streaming and radio brought the audience upwards of 100 million.

It was a boring, unfocused debate between two well-prepared and polished candidates who had little interest in answering the questions posed to them — and were under virtually no pressure from the moderator to do so. In other words, it was sort of how debates used to be: professional politicians who are mostly civil to each other making their points, occasionally skirting the rules, and frequently spinning the facts. There was a lot to critique, but the participants were bound by some shared sense of propriety.

Donald Trump will eventually leave the White House, and Wednesday’s VP debate offered the nation a glimpse of a post-Trump future. The restrained sparring between Pence and Harris was a reminder of what politics was once like — and could be again.

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Finally, a word from the Father of the Nation…

We citizens of America are, from this period, to be considered actors in a most conspicuous theater, which seems to be peculiarly designated by Providence for the display of human discourse, civility, and dignity. — George Washington, 1783

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