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First COVID-19 Vaccines Loading Now At Pfizer Facility; First COVID-19 Vaccines Loading Now At Pfizer Facility. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 13, 2020 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, we'll continue now as we cover the beginning of the largest mass vaccination in American history.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: And it is Sunday, December 13th. Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker, in for Christi Paul.

We are following breaking news. The U.S. on the verge of the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history. At any moment, the CDC director expected to formally accept an advisory committee's recommendation of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine.

These are live pictures as the distribution is about to get under way.

And that CDC acceptance would allow the mass vaccinations to begin as soon as tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: And we're watching the first shipments here on your screen getting ready to roll out of Pfizer's facility in Portage, Michigan. Millions of doses stored at incredibly low temperatures will soon make their way across the country at this surge that we're seeing in new cases, in deaths, in hospitalizations in this pandemic. The U.S. surpassed 16 million coronavirus confirmed cases yesterday.

It took about four days to add the latest one million cases to the total count, the number of people fighting COVID-19 in the hospital right now, a record high for the seventh straight day.

WALKER: We have reporters ready to cover every angle of the story.

Let's begin with CNN's Dianne Gallagher at Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We've been saying this is a highly complex logistical mission that is under way right now, Dianne.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: that's right. And those images that you're seeing of the beginning of the packing of those vaccines into those distribution trucks, those cargo trucks, to get on the road and then eventually for many, most of those vaccines, bring them to an airport like this one here, Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and get them out to the facilities, to the first responders, to the assisted living facilities, the government facilities that need those vaccines and are in line to get them first.

Now, what we're anticipating happening a little later this morning is we'll begin to see these cargo flights taking off from airports like this one with those vaccines once this sort of chain of custody begins, and those trucks leave that Pfizer facility about 45 minutes down the road from here.

Now, Ford Airport was notified ahead of time, they've been planning for about a month, that they are likely going to see some of that vaccine shipment activity. But a lot of the security is involved in this, they don't want to talk too much about everything ahead of time because of the importance of this procedure.

Now, this is an intricate and difficult logistics process because of just how sensitive these packages of vaccines are. On top of the fact that we've discussed over and over again -- this is super cold storage. We're talking about around negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They have to be packed and kept in.

And so those different carriers like UPS and FedEx have talked about the lengths they've gone to and the technology they're using to maintain surveillance of those vaccines. FedEx talked about different sensors that not only can monitor the location of those vaccine shipments at all times, but also make sure that they aren't losing any of that cold storage.

Now, on top of that, you've got to deal with the extreme amount of dry ice that's in these packages, as well. Cannot stress what a sensitive operation this is. And so, airports like this one that have been preparing need things like cargo space. They need facilities, extra long runways and large runways, wide runways that can handle cargo planes to make sure there's no sort of issues.

But even airports that have not been prepared for these vaccine shipments have been told by the FAA get ready just in case. Be prepared to add priority to any sort of shipments that might be coming in via ground, or if there's something that causes a plane to be delayed or diverted, to make sure that each of these flights, all of these ground shipments take priority.

That is what is key here, Amara and Victor, making sure that this very difficult, very precise logistics operation doesn't have any sort of interruption and trying to make sure that every single step happens in the manner it's supposed to. There is very little room for error here. There have been dry runs and much preparation for this historic moment.

BLACKWELL: If you could talk more about the tracking of these packages to make sure that the facility and, of course, the local governments and hospitals know when they're coming, where they're coming, and UPS and FedEx's cooperation to make sure there is that surveillance, as you said, of these all-important vials.


GALLAGHER: Sure thing. And FedEx has talked sort about a newer technology that they're using with these sensors that, again, not only monitor the temperature and can make sure that that is adequate, but can in real time keep crack of these vaccine shipments.

And part of it is because there is such a small window to get them to these locations. This has to be done very quickly and, of course, efficiently, without dropping temperature or losing that chain of custody. And so, they're using the sensor technology to continue feeding that information back to them so they have consistent eyes on where the location of these shipments are, these packages are, UPS has talked about their Bluetooth technology that they're using, as well.

This really is a collaboration of technical prowess that they're trying to employ here to make sure that nothing goes wrong to start with. Simply getting vaccines from point A to point B takes almost a small army of people who are working together and just -- some of the most recent technology. They've been able to employ here. So, they're going to be getting readings back there through FedEx and as well as those who are expecting that package so they can know when to be there, what's going on.

FedEx, in fact, talked about the fact their vice president, that they delayed sort of these shipments until beginning today because they wanted who make sure that -- they wanted to make sure that the facilities accepting vaccines were well staffed and ready. And so, you have a better likelihood of that happening on Monday than, say, Sunday, in the middle of the night.

And so, o they tried to time this out to make sure that there would be adequate staffing to handle these shipments once they get to their designated locations, Victor.

WALKER: So many preparations and dry runs, a lot the stake here. Dianne Gallagher, thank you very much.

Let's bring in CNN's contributor Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and former Detroit health commissioner.

And, Doctor, let's talk about the receiving end of this. When the vaccines arrive at these vaccination points, we heard from the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed on Saturday who said that they expect 145 sites across all states to receive that -- the vaccine on Monday.

What kind of preparations at hospitals are being made, have been made in terms of who is first in line to get the vaccinations? Because not every single employee or worker at the hospitals will be able to receive a vaccination.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. There are two pieces here. Number one, you need to have the logistics ready to be able to get the vaccine and deploy it as soon as you possibly can. So, making sure folks are trained on vaccinating, knowing exactly where people are going to go to get vaccinated in your hospital. But always it is who you are vaccinating.

Of course, you want to be vaccinating folks at the greatest risk of contracting the virus. That means people who are working in ICUs where they're carrying for COVID patients, people who are working on general medical floors, considering the fact that right now, there is so much COVID in our hospitals.

And then of course getting out to primary care physician who may be at the tip of the spear because oftentimes people will come in before their symptoms are serious, but when they're the most infectious. They're coming into the primary care doctor.

So, you really want to get this out to people who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus because they are interacting with patients with COVID-19 every day.

BLACKWELL: Dr. El-Sayed, there still is, as we're watching the logistics inside this facility, the Pfizer still, there's still the CDC element that we're waiting for. Of course, the advisory committee met, and we're waiting for the guidance to come from the CDC and Dr. Redfield who heads that group. Tell us what's happening there, that element of this beginning of the vaccination program.

EL-SAYED: Well, stepping all the way back, right, we want a vaccine that is safe and effective. And that means we want everybody to go through and go through again all of the protocols to make sure that everyone is on exactly the same page. There's a process that we use that includes the FDA and the CDC that looks at the safety and efficacy of the virus on the FDA sides.

And then looks at the deployment strategy on the CDC side. I'm sure the folks at the CDC are just dotting the I's and crossing the T's before Director Redfield signs off and that we are able to put this vaccine into people's arms and thunder them into vaccinations.

And so, you know, we want a process that works, and this is part of the process. And so nobody wants to rush this, and I think it's a good thing and all of us should rest a little bit easier that we know that this process is followed to the T as vaccines roll out.

WALKER: It's fascinating to see, you know, all of this activity inside Pfizer's manufacturing facility. I think it's the largest facility they have in the country. And Dr. Sayed, I just want us to take a step back because this is an historic moment, an unprecedented rollout that we are witnessing on a scale that we've never seen before.

I mean, did you ever think that we would be talking about distributing COVID-19 vaccines nine months into this pandemic?


EL-SAYED: I mean, it really is historic, and I just want to say how much of a medical marvel this is. I mean, as a kid who came up studying science, learning about all the old vaccine processes, knowing all of the work that goes into both designing a vaccine, making sure it's safe and effective, and getting it out there, the fact that we've done this in nine months from a virus we did not know could even infect human beings, did not know was out there, it really is a medical marvel.

And this is the beginning of the end. People should have a lot of hope in this moment. It really is exciting.

BLACKWELL: Let's expand the conversation. You saw applause there inside the Pfizer facility. Well timed for the comments from Dr. El- Sayed.

I believe we have CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard with us, as well, because on the other end of this logistical feat of packaging, shipping, and distributing these vaccines, you then have to deliver them to individuals -- talk us through the hierarchy, who is eligible to get them when, Jacqueline.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: That's right. We then have to think about who will get the vaccines, how it will this be administered. This is something that actually the CDC already put out a recommendation on earlier this month. And that recommendation is what's guiding where these first shipments are going, which are hospitals and CVS, Walgreens, pharmacies that are partnering with long-term care facilities.

So here's what the vaccine rollout will look like -- the first people in line to get vaccinated will be health care workers and will be residents of long-term care facilities. Next, it will be other older adults and other essential workers, as well as people with underlying medical conditions. And then later on, it will be everyone else.

So, not everyone is going to get the vaccine right away. There is this phased process of rolling the vaccine out to first those who are prioritized, health care workers, and long-term care facility residents, and then everyone else.

BLACKWELL: And, Jacqueline, if I could stay with you for a moment, there is still a degree of decision-making that is left to the state level while those are the -- the decisions, those are the recommendations coming from CDC after that process, FDA, as well. The state has some role, too, does it not?

HOWARD: That's right. Yeah. Distribution -- you know, once shipments are sent to states, it's then up to the state to distribute those vaccine doses.

And we've learned that many states are not receiving as many doses as they initially expected. So they're making some tough decisions as far as who within those prioritized groups, health care workers and long- term care facility residents, will get the first doses.

Some states are deciding -- well, let's give them to health care workers first. And then some states are deciding, well, let's do both, long-term care facility residents and health care workers, but, you know, kind of figure out how to distribute the doses within those two groups.

So, these are some decisions that are happening right now, right at this moment as, you know, shipments are in preparation to be sent to states.

WALKER: Dr. El-Sayed, let me ask you about once the vaccinations are being given to the mass public, what to be know about -- what should we know about how long it will take for the vaccines to take effect? And how long we might be protected from the virus. Is that even known?

EL-SAYED: Yeah. So, you know, the first question first. We know that this is a two-dose vaccine course. And after the first ten days of the -- after getting the first vaccine dose, we know that immunity starts to kick in. That's how long it takes your body's immune system to really rev up and be able to recognize what it just saw, and we know that immunity increases over time, especially after that second dose.

The question of how long the immunity will last, well, here's the thing -- we started testing this virus four or five months ago. So we just don't have long-term information. There's good reasoning to believe that at least against the strain of a virus that you were vaccinated against that this is going to last a long time.

But we also don't know as much about the overall evolution of this virus.


And so you know, like the flu, you got to get a new flu vaccine every year because the flu vaccine evolves quite quickly. So though you remain pretty immune against the viruses that you were immunized against, the virus itself changes. So you could still get the flu.

And so there's still a lot more to learn about the coronavirus itself and a lot more to learn about how much protection especially over the long term this particular vaccine provides.

WALKER: If you're pregnant, if you are immuno-compromised or have an underlying condition, the data we heard is unclear when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. What kind of conversations should pregnant women or the immuno-compromised be having with their physicians, what kind of questions should be asked if they are still indeed interested in getting a vaccine?

EL-SAYED: Yeah. So, you know, the few pregnant women included were included because they had not known that they were going to be pregnant at the time. And so we have very limited data about the way that this vaccine interacts with pregnancy, although, pregnant women were not excluded from the authorization.

So any woman who is pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should be talking to her doctor about potentially getting this vaccine. And it's important to make sure that you've thought through all the potentialities here. But it is notable that they did not exclude pregnant women from this particular EAU. And that is not always all that common. So it's worth a conversation with your doctor and make the best

decision from there.

BLACKWELL: Again, describing what you're seeing on your screen here, four cameras here at the Pfizer facility in Portage. We understand that the first boxes of this vaccine have made it to the loading bay, the lower right, they'll be loaded on to these trucks, driven to locations in the area and also driven to Grand Rapids, Michigan, the airport where Dianne Gallagher is, and flown to others.

Let me go back to CNN Health Reporter, Jacqueline Howard.

Jacqueline, one element of this vaccine that is important to mention here, unlike several others that include a bit of the virus in the vaccine, this COVID-19 is not included in this vaccine as we learned from the FDA's issued emergency use authorization and the fact sheets that were sent out.

HOWARD: Yeah. So, we have to keep in mind, this is an mRNA vaccine, and what that means is the main component is vaccine is what's called messenger RNA. That's genetic information from -- you know, the genetic information of the coronavirus that is what really plays a big part in how this vaccine primes and boosts your body to fight off possible infections. So, it's an mRNA vaccine.

Now, when it comes to the prescriber information and fact sheet that will be sent out with the vaccine -- and this is typical for any medical products to include prescriber information and a fact sheet. When it comes that, we actually heard an FDA official talk about this earlier this week during an FDA advisory committee.

This quote is from Dr. Marion Gruber. She says that the fact sheet and the prescribing information will state that this vaccine should not be administered to individuals with known history of severe allergic reactions to any components of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. The warning statement will say appropriate medical treatment used to manage immediate allergic reactions must be immediately available in the event an acute anaphylactic reaction occurs.

So in other words, you know, this information is just letting people know someone with a significant history of having severe reaction to any components in the vaccine, you know, should be aware of this risk. And the warning statement expands upon how there should be preparations made in case a reaction happens.

When it comes to others components of the vaccine, I did look at FDA briefing documents to see what those components are. Again, the main component is mRNA, but the documents also state fatty materials called lipids and salts and sugars like sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and sucrose. The vaccine does not include eggs and the documents say it is preservative free.

So, this is just all important to keep in mind.

BLACKWELL: Jacqueline Howard, CNN health reporter. Also Dr. Abdul El- Sayed, with us, likely for quite a while as we continue to watch these vaccines, the packages being shipped -- packed I should say -- to this FedEx truck and vaccines will head out to begin, as we've said several times, cannot overstate, the largest mass vaccination effort in American history.

We'll continue our coverage of the breaking news in just a moment.



BLACKWELL: Any moment now we're expecting this landmark moment in the battle against COVID-19 in the U.S. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine being prepared to roll out. You see here the pallets being loaded on to the delivery trucks. This is the largest manufacturing center for Pfizer. There is in Portage, Michigan.

Now before the vaccinations can be administered, the CDC's director, Robert Redfield, has to accept the recommendation of a CDC advisory panel delivered to the director.

WALKER: Yeah, that is key, and that is what we're all waiting on.

Evan McMorris-Santoro is in New York, and Dr. Paul Casey, medical director of the emergency department at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


First off to you, Dr. Casey, you know, as we're watching these images and we're seeing the first boxes of the COVID-19 vaccines being loaded on to the docking bay to be put on to these trucks, I just want to get your reaction to this really historic moment.

DR. PAUL CASEY, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: This is an incredibly exciting day because it really represents the light at the end of a very, very long tunnel. This pandemic is something those of us in health care have not seen in our lifetimes, and it's getting very tiresome. Not only are we personally tired of it, but medically the amount of suffering we've seen over the last several months is unprecedented.

I've been a doctor 34 years and have never seen the amount of suffering from a single disease that I have seen over the past several months. And so, to have something that really represents the beginning of the end of this pandemic is very exciting.

BLACKWELL: Evan, New York Governor Cuomo says that the states are broke. You know, testing is one degree of one expense and involvement, but the distribution and delivery of the vaccines is going to be very expensive. He estimates states will need $8 billion.

How prepared is New York for what's -- what's coming to them?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I can say that right here in New York city where I'm standing right now, I'm in Manhattan, out of a hospital, anticipation for the vaccine is very, very high. We've been waiting for this to happen for a long, long time. The darkest days of the pandemic were right here in New York City.

And now as you mention the light at the end of the tunnel, maybe it's coming. But, obviously, there's big questions about distribution and how to get it out and who gets it. Those are weighing on everybody's mind, because you remember back in the worst days of the pandemic back in the spring, just how hard it was to get testing out, to get testing to the right people, to find the right people to test. All those logistical nightmares are definitely possibly coming back here when this vaccine starts to roll out.

So here in New York City, where we're seeing that second surge, people are hoping that the distribution of the vaccine is smoother than the testing was back in spring.

WALKER: And, Dr. Casey, are you concerned about people letting their guard down, especially knowing that the impact of the vaccinations will take some time, and that there are two doses that will be needed, and right now we are experiencing a surge. We haven't seen the worst of the pandemic according to some health officials.

CASEY: Absolutely. I'm very worried about that. As the holidays approach, people want to get together. Now is not the time to let our guard down.

The implementation of this vaccine process will be staged in that those of us on the front lines will be vaccinated first along with long-term care residents, and so the average population not employed in health care or those living in a long-term care facility will not receive this perhaps until spring. So, it's several months away until we are even close to achieving herd immunity which will be required to stop this pandemic.

BLACKWELL: Evan, I had a conversation with that professor from Yale Public School of Health yesterday, and the analogy he used stays with me, and I think it's applicable to where you are now. He says a bucket of water can put out a campfire, but it cannot put out a house fire.

The point he's trying to make there is that 2.9 million doses that are heading out as we're seeing the surge in new cases, the surge of hospitalizations, as the numbers go the wrong way, it creates even a greater challenge for this vaccination program. What's happening in New York to try to bring those numbers down to guarantee a success of what we're seeing happening at the Pfizer facility and the start of this mass vaccination?

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, that doctor is very wise as you are. I mean, look, you're exactly right. Right now where we're standing, the vaccine is basically still a dream, right? We're just seeing it start to roll out.

Here in New York, all the numbers are going in the wrong direction. We're talking about the infection rate that's risen to over 6 percent. We're talking about hospitalizations that are rising, new cases, deaths. All those numbers are getting bad again in the second surge of the pandemic.

And so, what the governor has done is shut down indoor dining again, only hoped for a few weeks here. He shut down indoor dining, and every leader is warning to be vigilant -- be very, very vigilant about maintaining social distancing, doing things to keep the virus from spreading because the vaccine is far away. And we're still in the middle of this in Manhattan where I'm standing.

WALKER: So, from what I understand, there's about 636 locations that are poised today to receive doses in this first round of shipments from Pfizer.


Dr. Casey, I know your hospital, you and your colleagues are on stand to receive the first shipments.

Tell us about the timeline and also how hospitals are going to prioritize who gets this first round of shots. Is it only for the health care workers, that includes physicians and support staff, that have regular contact with COVID patients? So for instance, if there are physicians who don't have much contact with COVID patients, they may not be first in line for the vaccine?

CASEY: That's correct. So we learned in the last several days that we're not going to get vaccine probably this week. It will probably be the following week. And in terms of prioritization, due to the limited supply that we'll all receive from the state, we have to prioritize who gets it first.

So, as you mentioned, those of us at highest risk, meaning those who come face to face with COVID patients on a daily basis will be first in line. But, ultimately, the goal is to have everyone within the health system vaccinated that has to be prioritized to those at highest risk. So, those nurses and physicians who work on the COVID ward, those of us in the emergency department, those who work in the ICU will be prioritized to receive the initial doses.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Paul Casey there for us, Evan McMorris-Santoro in New York, as well, thank you both.

Again, we are watching live pictures at the Pfizer facility in Portage, Michigan, as those vials, the boxes of the vaccine, are being loaded on to trucks to be distributed across the country. Two things still have to be built -- the infrastructure and for many people the confidence in what is coming their way, this vaccine, to hopefully end this pandemic, breaking news continues on the other side of the break.



BLACKWELL: Pushing forward on the breaking news now. The first of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccines are soon going to be shipped out. We are again watching those pallets of the boxes of the vials being loaded on to trucks and some will be driven to hospitals, health centers, others will be flown as it's the beginning of the mass vaccination effort.

WALKER: Yeah, a lot of excitement especially as we witness this historic moment.

CNN's Pete Muntean outside Pfizer's manufacturing facility in Portage, Michigan.

We've been seeing a lot of activity over the last hour. Pete, explain to us what is happening.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: And these are the trucks that you guys mentioned out here on the back side of Pfizer's Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility, its largest facility. Can't understate how incredible those pictures are inside.

The vials of vaccines stored at a mega freezer, 60,000 vials each. Each tray, 195 vials. Each one of those tray is going to a box, 975 vials in each box. We know it's filled with 50 pounds of dry ice each.

The numbers underscore what an incredible effort this is, and Operation Warp Speed says the trucks leaving, UPS and FedEx, will go to facilities and then take the vaccine to 600 facilities across the country. Those are places like hospitals and pharmacies, CVS, Walgreens.

We're learning that most of those places will not get delivery until tomorrow morning. Many deliveries, the bulk of deliveries, on Tuesday. This is only the start of this incredible effort, this massive movement that begins here in Michigan.

BLACKWELL: Pete, we've talked about the Operation Warp Speed and we've seen and heard from the directors of that program, obviously the president from the Pfizer CEO and the leaders of BioNTech.

But the men and women in these fluorescent vests who have been working around the clock to pull off these nine-figure numbers over a period of developing these doses, talk about the work that's been going on at this facility to get to this day and many days that will follow to continue to send out these vaccinations, these vials of the vaccine.

MUNTEAN: This is a massive, coordinated effort, Victor. We know that 2.9 million doses will leave in this initial round of shipments. You can't understate how important the work is that's going on behind the scenes.

Here in the area of Kalamazoo, it's been relatively tight. Folks have not really talked about this very much outside of what's going on inside this building. Now you're seeing the historic moment of the vaccine finally on the move. We expect this first shipment to go out in just moments.

WALKER: Complex and massive undertaking. And, of course, you've got trucks and airplanes on stand by to aid in this -- the transportation and the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Pete Muntean, appreciate you joining us there. Thank you. We're back after this.



WALKER: All right. More on our breaking news. We are waiting to witness a historic moment. The first shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine rolling out of the facility here in Michigan.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, you see the pallets of the vaccines being wrapped up. They're going to be put on to trucks. Some of those trucks are going to be sent out to an airport and flown across the country.

Some of them will be driven to hospitals, medical centers. Let's have the medical conversation with CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard, CNN contributor Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, epidemiologist, former Detroit health commissioner joins us now.

There's been a conversation this week about side effects and that people should be concerned about that that are typical -- I say typical, more likely than others. Walk us through what we know about the potential side effects.

And I'll start with you, Dr. El-Sayed.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we know that the most common side effects are just the basic soreness at the site of injection, that's the most common. And some folks will get a malaise, and potentially a fever. But then we've heard about these two situations where people had had a full-on allergic reaction where they needed an EpiPen to pull them out of it.

That exists in the setting simply because we know that some of the stuff they pack, the mRNA that does do the work in this vaccine can cause those allergic reactions. They had excluded people who had previous allergic reactions from the study.


And two folks in the U.K. had gotten them.

But we know that the side-effect profile for the vaccine says it's exceedingly safe, aside from that experience of symptoms that your body will put forward when it's going through immune response as this mRNA vaccine is guiding it to do, that that -- that is common with vaccinations like this, they tend to go away in 24 hours.

But this is a safe and effective vaccine, and I highly recommend that folks take it given that the side-effect profile is minimal. And we know that the consequences of getting COVID-19 from which this protects you is so much more serious.

WALKER: Yeah, that's the message we've been hearing all along.

Jacqueline Howard, to you, because I know you've been reading the fine print on the warning labels printed by the FDA. What exactly are you seeing, and what are we learning about the ingredients, as well?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: That's right. So I did look at FDA briefing documents that listed the components and ingredients of the vaccine. And we also understand that an FDA official said earlier this week in the briefing documents that within that fact sheet that's sent out with the vaccine and within the prescriber information, it will state that if you have a significant history of severe reaction to any components of the vaccine, then, you know, this is a concern.

And what we understand, though, and, you know, Dr. El-Sayed mentioned this earlier, that there were those two cases in the United Kingdom where two health care workers had a severe reaction. But we also understand that those two health care workers, the two women, they already had a significant history of such reactions to vaccine. And they're just two cases out of thousands who have been vaccinated after the United Kingdom authorized the vaccine. So, that's important to keep in mind, as well.

And again, right now, the warning statement that is being sent out with the vaccine is just if you have a history of reaction to any of the components within the vaccine, then that's something to keep in mind.

BLACKWELL: Dr. El-Sayed, this is something that I've been wondering -- because the vaccine obviously is at a premium and there's so many people who will want it, who will need it, at what point do the people in the study learn if they receive the vaccine or the placebo so that there won't be any doubling up or they will know if they have the protections?

EL-SAYED: Well, the way that these studies work is that you blind people so that there is no placebo effect, and the reality is, is that the studies aren't over. We still want to know what the long-term consequences are.

This is a decision that tends to be made early on when you enter a study that you are going to remain blinded for the full period of the study. And so you know, it may be that they may break study protocol over time, but for right now, my understanding is the decision hasn't been made.

WALKER: We are looking at live images from Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the Pfizer's largest manufacturing site, boxes being packed and loaded for distribution, boxes of the COVID-19 vaccine. We are following the developments.

We're going to take a short break. Back after this.



BLACKWELL: President Trump attended the army navy game yesterday. It's his third appearance I believe as commander in chief.

WALKER: The president waved to the cadets and midshipmen. The only fans allowed at the game at West Point. Played on campus for the first time since 1943 as a result of the pandemic.

Coy Wire was there.

And, Coy, what was the atmosphere like having the game at West Point?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to y'all. This game was already special, but love it on post here at West Point and to be able to play this game at all, one player said it meant so much to him and his service members around the world. The game will likely will named the fog bowl. At times it was hard to see the players. Perfect recipe for Army's dominant defense, though.

The moment that defined the game, the goal line stand keeping Navy from the end zone from the one yard line on four straight plays. It was 3-0 until entering the fourth. Army getting the honor of singing their alma mater for the fourth time in five years, beating Navy 15-0. They're led by senior Amadeo West who've overcome devastating injuries the last three season, to play his final Army-Navy game as team captain.

Here's the leaders of the defense after the win.


AMADEO WEST, ARMY LINEBACKER: It's a testament to this team. There was so much uncertainty, especially in June. We didn't know if we were going to have a season. And just for these boys to go out there and just work each and every day, just prepare, I couldn't be more proud of them. It showed on the field today that we wanted this.


WIRE: Now it's going to make for a great holiday for the Black Knights around the world, and the cadets waiting to be picked up by their parents to go on leave for the first time in five months to be with family for the holidays. Thank you for your service.

Go Army!

CROWD: Beat Navy!

WIRE: Back to you.

WALKER: So happy for them. Coy Wire, thank you. And thank you for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS", Abby Phillip is up this morning. And, of course, she's going to continue the breaking news coverage as we are watching the vials of the vaccine, Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine that received emergency use authorization being packed onto trucks.


There'll be driven to some locations, flown to others as the largest mass vaccination effort in American history begins. Still waiting for approval from the CDC director, could start tomorrow. Abby is up next.