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Nurse Sandra Lindsay receives the first COVID vaccine in the US
Nurse Sandra Lindsay receives the first COVID vaccine in the USImage: Mark Lenninhan/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus digest: US begins vaccine rollout

December 15, 2020

The biggest vaccination program in US history is now underway. Canada and the United Arab Emirates also have also begun vaccinating residents. Follow DW for the latest.


The United States began distributing the first doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 on Monday, just days after it was approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA).

New York nurse Sandra Lindsay received the first vaccine dose in the country, live on television.

"It didn't feel any different from taking any other vaccine," said Lindsay, who added, "I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history."

Lisa Lee, vice president of research and innovation at US university Virginia Tech, told DW that "to see that nurse today get that vaccine and start this program in the United States was a real bright spot. It will get better."

What has the coronavirus pandemic and the rollout of the vaccine revealed about public health in the US?

US President Donald Trump celebrated the beginning of the distribution, tweeting "Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!"

US President-elect Joe Biden shared a video of the nurse receiving the vaccine, saying, "stay hopeful — brighter days lie ahead."

The rollout came as the number of COVID-related deaths in the US passed 300,000.

DW has the overview of the major developments around the world.

Rest of Americas

Canada also administered the first doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine on Monday. An Ontario caregiver and an octogenarian in Quebec got the first doses of the vaccine in the nation.


Taiwan has set a goal to vaccinate 60% of its population, or about 15 million people, a health official said.

The country signed an agreement with COVAX to purchase a vaccine, but is also in talks with companies with shots in phase III trials for a potential bilateral agreement as well.  

More than 60% of Japanese residents want the Tokyo Olympics either postponed further or canceled altogether, according to a poll from public broadcaster NHK. That is an increase of 14 percentage points from polling held in October.

The Games were postponed in March until 2021 as the first wave of the virus began to spread around the world.

Sports Life - The Rocky Road to the Toyko Olympics - Part 1

Singapore will open a segregated travel lane for limited numbers of business, official and high economic value travelers from all countries for trips that are less than two weeks, the government said Tuesday.

The lane will open starting in the second half of January, and travelers must follow strict health and testing protocols, and stay in a "bubble" at segregated facilities. 

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun has pleaded with residents Tuesday to comply with social distancing rules in order to prevent tougher restrictions.

The government was reluctant to impose tougher restrictions because Chung said they would cause "irrevocable pain."

Middle East

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) began administering vaccines by the Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm on Monday. Vaccinations started in the capital of Abu Dhabi and residents can make an appointment through the city health services (SEHA) website.  


The Netherlands entered a strict lockdown at midnight (2300 GMT) on Monday in an attempt to slow the recent spike in new cases. The country will shut cinemas, theaters, museums, hair salons, gyms, public swimming pools, and all shops that do not sell goods for daily use. 

A vaccine center getting prepared in Düsseldorf
Germany is getting ready to distribute a vaccine, setting up vaccine centers like this one at Düsseldorf's soccer stadiumImage: Irene Anastassopoulou/DW

Germany is pressuring the EU to speed up the approval of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine after other countries began distributing the vaccine to their residents. German newspaper Bild reported Tuesday that Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and Germany's health ministry want the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to bring forward the anticipated approval date of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine from December 29 to December 23.

kbd/rt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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