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Covid vaccine distribution challenges, lawmakers near relief deal and movies come to you

"The people who need [the vaccine] the most are the same who don't trust it," said one advocate who is working to ensure equitable vaccine access.
Image: Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for COVID-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Fla.
Top pharmaceutical executives at Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson say once their Covid-19 vaccines are approved, the next big challenge will be distributing them fairly. Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

As the Covid-19 vaccine goes from dream to reality, there is a push to make sure it is trusted by those that need it most. And the pandemic continues to leave its mark on everything from how we watch movies to how we celebrate the holidays.

Here is what we're watching this Friday morning.

Racial disparities create obstacles for Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Despite the potential for a vaccine within weeks, distrust of the medical community by Black and Latino people, who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, remains high as elected leaders and public health professionals work to prioritize its distribution.

Fueled by a dark history of medical experimentation and unequal access to care, people in Black and Latino communities struggling with high Covid-19 rates are among those least likely to get vaccinated, health advocates say.

"The people who need it the most are the same who don't trust it," said Sernah Essien of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, an international advocacy group working to ensure equitable vaccine access.

The concern comes as the first coronavirus vaccines could reach the American public in the coming weeks and people are wondering who will get them first.

Earlier this week, a CDC advisory panel recommended that the first priority for vaccines should be health care personnel and residents of long-term health care facilities.

But beyond recommendations for the emergency Phase 1a, there is no federal plan for distribution of the vaccine.

The top executives of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson told NBC News' Lester Holt that once they get approval for their respective vaccines, fair distribution through the uneven U.S. health care system is the next big challenge.

As cases continue to surge across the country, California's Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced new stay-at-home orders Thursday.

Follow our live blog for all the latest Covid-19 developments.

Lawmakers near deal on Covid relief price tag, but lingering disputes remain

Lawmakers are growing optimistic about a coronavirus relief deal as party leaders came together Thursday on a price tag after months of stalemate gave way to meaningful negotiations.

But lingering policy disputes remain, and leaders still hope to combine the Covid-19 relief into a government funding bill by the Dec. 11 deadline to avert a shutdown.

Meantime, President-elect Joe Biden has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay on as the government's top infectious diseases expert under the next administration. He also said that when he is inaugurated, he will ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days.

Fauci told NBC News on Thursday that he would stay in his current role and work closely with the new administration.

Entertainment shifts to meet consumers where they are in the time of Covid: At home

Warner Bros. announced Thursday that it will make all of its movies slated for release in 2021 available to stream for one month only, exclusively on HBO Max. Every film will be simultaneously released in theaters and available for a limited time on the streaming service.

The new hybrid model represents a novel deviation from the typical program studios follow, where films are released in theaters first, and then hit other platforms months later.

The move comes as many movie theaters remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and those that have reopened have suffered from low ticket sales.

“We’re living in unprecedented times, which call for creative solutions," said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group.

Actors Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Warner Bros. Pictures upcoming action adventure "Dune."
Actors Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Warner Bros. Pictures upcoming action adventure "Dune." Chia Bella James / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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One fun thing

Let there be light!

Across the country, families are enjoying a respite from the pandemic and some holiday cheer with spectacular light shows.

From drive-thrus to pop-up light shows with timed tickets to ensure social distancing, people are enjoying a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Thanks, Petra