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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.
- Map of U.S. hot spots and worldwide Covid-19 cases.
- Tracking surges in states across the country this winter.
- Map of travel restrictions and which states have a mask mandate.
- Click here for more of NBC News' Covid-19 coverage.
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.
Georgia man who lied to employer about having Covid pleads guilty
An Atlanta man who earlier this year falsely claimed to his employer that he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge Monday, federal prosecutors said.
The claim cost the company about $100,000 because the company had temporarily close its facility and have four co-workers quarantine, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia said.
Santwon Antonio Davis, 35, who was charged in May, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Davis "caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families," Byung J. “BJay” Pak, U.S. attorney for the district, said in a statement.
Inside Tennessee's only children's Covid ICU ward
A 'moral and ethical struggle': California nurses threaten strike
A nurses strike scheduled to begin on Christmas Eve threatens operations at three Southern California hospitals as the nurses allege that work conditions put staff safety at risk.
The Hospital Corporation of America on Monday received a 10-day notice of the intent to strike by about 2,450 registered nurses and licensed professionals across three of its hospitals, according to the SEIU Local 121 union chapter, which represents them. The strike would begin Dec. 24 and continue through Jan. 3 at Riverside Community Hospital, Los Robles Regional Medical Center, and West Hills Hospital & Medical Center.
Registered nurses have taken issue with “dangerously low staffing levels” and lack of adequate personal protective equipment that have put them at risk for infection as the coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm frontline workers, according to the union.
The Hospital Corporation of America said it a statement that it has bargained in "good faith" to secure a new labor agreement and that the union's push to have nurses "abandon the beside" was "unconscionable."
Gov. Gavin Newsom: California received as many Covid vaccines as new cases recorded
A 'constant flow' of vaccine: Pfizer's Covid-19 shots begin massive rollout
As the first Covid-19 vaccines were given in the United States on Monday, millions more doses entered the queue for nationwide distribution.
An additional 581 shipments are scheduled for delivery later this week, Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said during a media briefing Monday. Those deliveries will follow a previously announced 636 shipments, set to arrive by Wednesday. Each shipment contains about 1,000 doses.
And Operation Warp Speed officials have already planned for the widespread distribution of a second vaccine, made by Moderna, though it has not yet been granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
"It is a constant flow of available vaccines," Perna said. His team is expected to update the nation on the number of available shots each Friday moving forward.
Acting Secretary Defense Chris Miller gets vaccine at Walter Reed
'The Netherlands is closing down': Dutch prime minister announces new lockdown for holidays
The Dutch government is shutting down the country for the holidays, the country’s prime minister announced Monday.
“We have to bite through this very sour apple before things get better,” Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a televised address to his countrymen.
The pandemic is spreading “even faster that we counted on last week.” So, Rutte said, “the Netherlands is closing down.”
As Rutte spoke, protesters outside could be heard outside his office in The Hague banging on pots to register their displeasure.
“There's no more leeway and the flu season hasn't even started yet,” Rutte said. “And the reality is also that we are not dealing with an innocent flu, which some people, such as the demonstrators outside still think, but with a virus that can hit anyone hard."
So starting Tuesday, all non-essential stores are closed until Jan. 19 along with hair salons, museums and theaters. All schools have to switch to remote learning by Wednesday. And most child care centers will be closed.
Rutte also urged his countrymen to limit the number of guests over age 13 to just three from Dec. 24-26. “We realize as a Cabinet how intense and drastic the measure we are taking today are,” Rutte said. “Especially so close to Christmas.”
Nearly 633,000 people in the Netherlands, which has a population of about 17 million, have tested positive for Covid-19 and more than 10,000 people have died due to the coronavirus since the pandemic started, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The Netherlands, which has already had a partial lockdown in place since October, has seen a sharp increase in new cases in recent weeks, various news outlets have reported.
VA to start vaccinating health-care workers, veterans in New Orleans, Massachusetts
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said Monday that its New Orleans and Bedford, Mass., medical centers are the first VA facilities to begin Covid-19 vaccinations for front-line health-care workers and veterans who live in long-term care Community Living and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder centers.
Both facilities are part of the initial group of 37 VA medical centers across the U.S. that started receiving and administering the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this week.
The sites were chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.
There will be an initial limited-supply phase of vaccinations followed by a general implementation phase, when large supplies of the vaccine become available.
Veterans who need additional information can use the VA's Covid-19 Vaccine Keep Me Informed tool, visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team or visit their facility website.