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US starts mass Covid-19 vaccination – world news

A health care worker became on Monday the first to get a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in New York, the city hit the hardest by the pandemic.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel … I encourage everyone to take the vaccine,” said Sandra Lindsay, a critical care worker, after getting the first shot of the two-dose vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York City. Many in the African American community are distrustful of vaccines due to a history of racially charged medical experiments.

“First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!” President Donald Trump tweeted. Earlier, he reversed a White House decision to vaccinate aides around him in the first lot. Reports said he may take the shot.

Frontline health workers and residents of long-term nursing home facilities are prioritised for vaccination. The vaccine’s journey from Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Michigan was followed breathlessly by news TV crews, for a nation starving for good news.

Cameras recorded trucks carrying the vaccines emerging from the facility and cargo flights carrying them from a nearby airport for destinations.

New York City, the hardest hit in the US, should be prepared for a full shutdown and start making plans to work remotely, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

London moved to Tier 3

London will move into the toughest top tier of the three-level Covid-19 alert system from Wednesday as health secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that there has been a “very sharp exponential” rise of cases.

Hancock also revealed that a new variant of Covid-19 had been detected, which may have caused the spike in cases in London, Essex and Kent.

The World Health Organization, he said, had been informed of the variant, which is unlikely to cause more serious disease than others.“We have identified a new variant of coronavirus, which may be associated with the fastest spread in the south-east of England,” he said.

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