By ROSA SANCHEZ, ERIN SCHUMAKER and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 80.2 million people worldwide and killed over 1.7 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:
Dec 29, 7:10 am
Vaccinations begin at Massachusetts long-term care facility, a COVID hot spot
Staff and residents of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday.
The long-term care facility had one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
On Tuesday, CVS pharmacists with inject patients with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
In the spring, 76 veterans who lived at the home died of the virus, and a resident who had been living in an off-site nursing facility since April died earlier this month.
Two former top administrators pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence charges connected to the residents’ deaths, WCVB reported.
U.S. states have begun vaccinating patients at long-term care facilities in an effort to keep the most vulnerable Americans safe from the virus.
The government’s goal is to have 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of the year.
Dec 29, 12:42 am
COVID vaccines given to general public in Kentucky a ‘mistake,’ governor says
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear spoke out Monday after Walgreens stores in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, gave COVID-19 vaccines to members of the general public.
Beshear said at a press conference that last week, the pharmacies were left with extra doses of the vaccine after administering it to long-term care facilities, so, they offered the leftover doses to average citizens. This, the governor said, does not follow government protocol, as the vaccine is not yet being given to the general public.
“I don’t think that this was intentional, and we have to understand that in an undertaking this massive that mistakes are going to happen,” Beshear said. “I believe that here a mistake happened in the thawing, but the reaction wasn’t what it should’ve been.”
In a statement, Walgreens said that per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can be at refrigerated temperatures for only five days, so, to avoid wasting doses of the valuable vaccine after giving it to at-risk adults in long-term care facilities, they used the leftover doses they had on residents.
The doses were offered to local first responders, Walgreens pharmacy and store team members and residents of the community, many of whom were over age 65, Walgreens said.
“These measures were taken to ensure every dose of a limited vaccine supply was used to protect patients and communities,” the company added. “We will utilize excess vaccine inventory in priority patient populations and continue to work closely with state and federal health agencies in our efforts to vaccinate residents in long-term care facilities and ensure requested doses meet their needs.”
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