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Dec. 15 Coronavirus updates: Health care workers among first to receive vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts that the U.S. could achieve herd immunity by "the end of the second quarter 2021."
Image: People walk across the almost deserted market square with decorated Christmas tree in Leipzig, eastern Germany
People walk across a nearly deserted market square decorated for Christmas in Leipzig, Germany on Monday.Jens Schlueter / AFP - Getty Images

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Health care workers across the United States were among the first Americans to get the federally approved coronavirus vaccine, marking a critical moment in the fight against Covid-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top disease expert, predicted that after vaccines are more widely deployed the country could achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by "the end of the second quarter 2021."

The beginning of this new phase in fighting the virus came as the U.S. death toll passed 300,000, and recorded more than 200,000 infections in one day.



Santa's 'immune' to Covid-19 and will still be coming to town, WHO says

There may be a pandemic, but Santa Claus is still coming to town, according to the World Health Organization.

“I understand the concern for Santa because he is of older age,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, at a press conference on Monday. “I can tell you that Santa Claus is immune to this virus.”

Despite the travel restrictions in place around the globe, world leaders have relaxed measures just for him, she said, adding that both he and his wife, Mrs. Claus, are doing well during their busy season.

In her message to kids, she did get in a health warning, mentioning the importance of Covid-19 precautions — one that will likely be music to parents' ears.  

Physical distancing by Santa Claus and of the children themselves must be strictly enforced, so it is really important that the children of the world still listen to their moms and dads and guardians and make sure they go to bed early on Christmas Eve,” she said.

German officials pressure E.U. to approve Covid vaccine

BERLIN — Germany’s health minister has increased his pressure on the European Union’s regulatory agency and demanded that a coronavirus vaccine will be approved before Christmas.

The news agency dpa reported Tuesday that health minister Jens Spahn said “our goal is an approval before Christmas so that we can still start vaccinating this year, also in Germany.”

Spahn is pushing for a quick approval of a new vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech and American drugmaker Pfizer that has already been authorized for use in Britain, the United States and other countries. But Germany cannot use it because it is still waiting for approval by the European Medicines Agency, or EMA.

People demonstrate outside the Torentje, the office of prime minister, during his speech announcing a five-week national lockdown on Monday in The Hague.Bart Maat / AFP - Getty Images

People demonstrate outside the Torentje, the office of prime minister, during his speech announcing a five-week lockdown, on Monday in The Hague.

Hospital's workers get their groove on to celebrate vaccine arrival

Health care workers in Boston said they felt “good as hell” as they danced to celebrate the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.

With masks on, the front-line workers stepped outside and boogied to the popular Lizzo song in a TikTok posted by Boston Medical Center CEO Kate Walsh.

The hospital was among the first in Massachusetts to get the vaccine, receiving 1,950 doses, Jenny Eriksen Leary, a BMC spokeswoman told NBC Boston. Doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit, emergency department and on floors that treat COVID-19 patients, will be among the first to receive the doses, she said.

It’s not the first time that the hospital’s health care workers have put on their dancing shoes. On Friday, the surgical ICU team got their groove on celebrating the discharge of one of their patients to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious.”