PORTAGE, Mich. – The shipments of the Pfizer vaccine out of Portage set in motion the largest vaccination effort in American history.
Boxes of the vaccines were packed up and loaded onto UPS and FedEx trucks, which were escorted by U.S. Marshals past crowds of cheering spectators.
Nearly 3 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to all 50 states.
Michigan will receive about 84,000 doses of the vaccine in the first round. They are being delivered to places that are capable of storing them at extremely low temperatures -- 48 hospitals and 12 different health departments.
In Metro Detroit, that includes Ascension Hospital in Warren and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, which is expecting just under 1,000 initial doses.
Beaumont Health is estimating they’ll get about 1,000 doses in the first batch before moving up to about 14,000 Pfizer vaccines as production kicks into high-gear.
Beaumont Health executive Carolyn Wilson said her team is ready to go. They have about 11,000 frontline workers who need vaccines, so a lottery system was set up and the first 1,000 workers know who they are.
The mood of the hospitals has shifted to anticipation and excitement for those doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly for the last nine months.
The U.S. has reached a turning point in the coronavirus pandemic after a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for widespread use by the national Food and Drug Administration (FDA).