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Dec. 14 Coronavirus updates: First federally approved vaccine administered

An estimated 2.9 million doses will be distributed within the first week.

Live coverage on this blog has ended, please click here for NBC News' latest coverage of Covid-19.

The first federally approved coronavirus vaccine was set to arrive at 145 locations across all 50 states Monday, a landmark moment as the nation struggles to contain a virus that's killed 300,000 Americans.

The vaccine, developed by German company BioNTech and its United States partner Pfizer, was given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday night.

Trucks departed Pfizer's plant in Portage, Michigan, on Sunday and the company expects to deliver 2.9 million doses to 636 locations by the end of this week.

Still, the vaccine will not be given to the vast majority of Americans until well into next year. And it will take some time to make even a dent in a pandemic that is killing thousands of people across the U.S. every day — more than ever before.


U.K. government's Christmas Covid plan 'will cost many lives,' medical journals warn

Two of the U.K.’s leading medical journals delivered a stark warning to the government on Tuesday: Do not relax coronavirus restrictions for Christmas.

In a joint editorial, only the second the British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal have written together in more than 100 years, the editors warned that the government is “about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives.” 

The British government has said that it would relax restrictions between Dec. 23 and 27, and allow up to three families to form a “bubble” so they can spend the holiday together. However, cases are rising and on Monday the government announced London would face the harshest level of restrictions, with restaurants and pubs banned from serving food and gym classes prohibited.

Criticizing the government’s delay in implementing the first lockdown in the spring, the editors called on the government to “reverse its rash decision” for the holiday relaxation and impose new restrictions over the holiday period to bring numbers down ahead of a likely third wave.

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.

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.

Complaint: Caterers at Dave Ramsey's holiday party told not to wear masks

Workers who catered the company Christmas party of Tennessee-based personal financial guru Dave Ramsey were instructed not to wear gloves and masks to the event — even though hundreds were expected to attend and coronavirus cases in the state have been steadily rising in recent weeks, according to a complaint obtained by NBC affiliate WSMV.

The complaint, which was filed Dec. 12 with the city of Franklin, Tenn. — where Ramsey’s company, Ramsey Solutions, is based — was confirmed Monday by city administrator Eric Stuckey.

The vendor who filed the complaint, whose name was redacted by WSMV, said Ramsey Solutions told workers to ditch the protective gear so as not to "scare those in attendance.”

Between 700 and 900 people were expected to attend the Dec. 12 party, according to the complaint.

Read the full story here. 

History spurs distrust between Black community and Covid vaccine

Hunger study predicts 168,000 pandemic-linked child deaths

PARIS — Economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has set back decades of progress against the most severe forms of malnutrition and is likely to kill 168,000 children before any global recovery takes hold, according to a study released Monday by 30 international organizations.

The study from the Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium draws on economic and nutrition data gathered this year as well as targeted phone surveys. Saskia Osendarp, who led the research, estimates an additional 11.9 million children — most in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — will suffer from stunting and wasting, the most severe forms of malnutrition.

Women who are pregnant now “will deliver children who are already malnourished at birth, and these children are disadvantaged from the very start,” said Osendarp, executive director of the Micronutrient Forum. “An entire generation is at stake.”

The fight against malnutrition had been an unheralded global success until the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Before the pandemic, the number of stunted children declined globally each year, from 199.5 million in 2000 to 144 million in 2019. The number of children suffering from wasting stood at 54 million in 2010 and had dropped to 47 million last year. It's expected to rise again to 2010 levels, according to the study.

Biden addresses loved ones of 300,000 Americans who have died of Covid

Sharon Osbourne says she had been in hospital with Covid

Sharon Osbourne, one of the hosts of "The Talk" and the wife of Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, revealed Monday that she has tested positive for Covid-19 and had been hospitalized.

Vaccine shipments equipped with Bluetooth sensor to ensure delivery, correct temp

Alabama loosens licensing rules for doctors as virus rages

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Regulators have loosened rules to make it easier for out-of-state doctors to work in Alabama as the coronavirus pandemic both fills hospital beds and strains medical staff by sickening doctors and nurses, officials said Monday as the first doses of vaccine arrived.

With an average of more than 2,100 people hospitalized daily over the last week with the illness caused by the virus, COVID-19, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and the Medical Licensure Commission decided to let qualified physicians from other states and Canada seek temporary emergency licenses to work in the state.

The Alabama Hospital Association has reported staffing shortages caused by both an inadequate number of beds in places and a lack of staff to treat patients, partly because medical workers are among the ill.

Under an emergency rule adopted by regulators during a weekend meeting, doctors licensed in other states or Canada can seek a license to work in an Alabama hospital for 180 days or until Gov. Kay Ivey ends the state’s public health emergency.

More than 213,000 cases reported Monday in U.S.

On the same day that the first people in the United States began receiving the first injections of a Covid-19 vaccine, more than 200,000 cases of the disease were reported.

There were more than 213,000 cases reported Monday and at least 1,400 deaths, according to an NBC News count of reports.

Overall, more than 16.5 million people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the U.S. and more than 301,000 have died, according to NBC News' count.