First COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive at HU Hospital

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Dr. Terrence Fullum receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Howard University Hospital, where he is a general surgeon. (Courtesy photo)

By Lenore T. Adkins
Special to the AFRO

Howard University Hospital has received its initial delivery of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, signaling a significant glimmer of hope in the fight against the disease.

On Dec. 14, the hospital secured 725 doses to vaccinate healthcare professionals and frontline workers. It’ll receive another batch to administer the second and final dose in 21 days.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Facebook. “Our frontline healthcare workers have led our community through the pandemic with courage and compassion. Now this vaccine will protect them, their patients & their families.”

Howard, along with George Washington University Hospital, are among the first ones in the nation’s capital to receive the vaccine, according to D.C. Health and government officials. The city’s total allotment of 6,825 doses will also be spread among Children’s National Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center. 

The Pfizer vaccine, which is 95 percent effective, was rolled out three days after the FDA authorized it for emergency use. It also comes as COVID-19 is hurting more people than at any point of its tenure in the United States. 

The disease has killed more than 300,000 Americans and infected more than 16 million. As of Dec. 15, 720 Washingtonians had died from COVID-19 and just over 25,000 had been infected, according to city data. The disease disproportionately affects African Americans.

The FDA may grant emergency use authorization for another COVID-19 vaccine as soon as this week, according to the New York Times. That vaccine, produced by Moderna, is 94.5 percent effective.