The United States kicked off a mass vaccination drive Dec. 14 hoping to turn the tide on the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak, as the nation’s death toll passed a staggering 300,000.
The start of the desperately awaited vaccine program coincided with several European countries announcing new lockdowns amid spiraling infections, highlighting the long road to ending the global pandemic.
New York nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in the U.S. to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, live on television, six days after Britain launched the West’s vaccine campaign against COVID-19.
“It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” said Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, imploring all Americans to “do our part” by getting vaccinated.
The vaccinations come at one of the darkest phases of the pandemic, with cases in the U.S. and many other countries soaring, and health experts struggling against vaccine skepticism, lockdown fatigue and uneven adherence to safety rules.
On Dec. 14, the Netherlands prepared to enter its strictest lockdown since the pandemic began, Britain announced new restrictions in London, and Turkey said it would go into a four-day lockdown over New Year’s. (AFP-Jiji)