America's first COVID-19 vaccine is scheduled to ship Sunday and begin arriving Monday morning—the result of a historic effort to protect people from a virus that has killed nearly 300,000 in the US and 1.6 million worldwide. "As I speak today, right now, vaccines are being packaged," said Gen. Gustave Perna, co-head of Operation Warp Speed, per USA Today. "Tomorrow morning, vaccines will start rolling from manufacturing to distribution hubs. By Monday, vaccines will be received." Perna said FedEx and UPS will be shipping Pfizer's vaccine to nearly 150 locations Monday and another 450 locations on Tuesday and Wednesday, per the AP. The first sites will include hospitals, so healthcare workers can get the shot upon showing up for work Monday morning.
Nursing home residents are also expected to be first in line. Perna added that vaccines should be arriving at local pharmacies and other locations that have ultra-cold storage within three weeks. Federal officials will send about 3 million doses in the first wave—roughly half the amount they first planned—a cautious approach that's been criticized by those who say the vaccine should be delivered as quickly as possible, the New York Times reports. Perna explains that they're doling out the first dose in one shipment, then the booster shot scheduled for three weeks later. "Eventually, we will become much more confident in our manufacturing, our distribution process, state handling, et cetera," he told the Times. "And then the requirement for reserve won't be necessary." (Read more vaccine stories.)