Here we go: New York nurse becomes one of the first Americans to be vaccinated for COVID-19

What a moment. I’m not sure how she and the doctor who administered the vaccine were chosen for this photo op, whether it was luck of the draw or political, but it’s either fortunate or wise that both are black. African-Americans are notably more reluctant to get the vaccine than other racial groups, with just 42 percent willing to do so according to a Pew poll taken this month. No other racial group was below 61 percent. The more black Americans become the public face of the vaccination process, hopefully the less reluctant the broader community will be. Watch, then read on.

Enthusiasm for getting the vaccine has been climbing since the election as we’ve gotten closer to actual delivery and as fears that the process was politicized have receded. Today an ABC poll found the highest level of support for the vaccine yet (as far as I’m aware, at least), with 84 percent willing to get it — eventually.

More than eight in 10 Americans say they would receive the vaccine, with 40% saying they would take it as soon as it’s available to them and 44% saying they would wait a bit before getting it…

Partisanship also plays a role in influencing the public’s outlook on a vaccine. Republicans (26%) are more than four times as likely as Democrats (6%) and nearly twice as likely as independents (14%) to say they would never get the coronavirus vaccine.

Nearly twice as many Democrats (49%) say they are willing to get the vaccine immediately as Republicans (28%). Just over four in 10 independents (42%) say the same. But the possibility of getting vaccinated in the future breaks through party lines. An equal 45% of Democrats, Republicans, and independents said they would first wait before getting a vaccine.

I understand the “wait and see” approach to getting the shot in theory, but not in practice. Every one of us apart from doctors and nursing-home residents will have no choice but to wait and see this month how the first few million recipients cope with the vaccine. By the time your own demographic group is eligible for the shot in February or March, what’ll be left to “wait and see” about?

The country’s most well-known doctor will be getting vaccinated publicly soon, which is also wise as a way to encourage public acceptance. If a 79-year-old is willing to put his money where his mouth is, everyone should feel safe getting it:

Karen wrote this morning that Trump and other top officials are also in line to get vaccinated soon but the backlash to that news among the chatterati has forced an uncharacteristic change of heart:

Trump and Pence should do it this week, on camera. Trump doesn’t need it urgently because he’s recovered from COVID, but as you can see from the ABC excerpt, Republicans are more standoffish about the vaccine than Democrats are. He should set an example. And as the commander-in-chief, the country has an interest in protecting his health. The same goes for Biden, who’s approaching 80 and who still has four years of service ahead of him. It’s a minor miracle that he hasn’t been infected already during his sporadic public appearances. He and Harris should be vaccinated immediately — and odds are that they will be:

As for supply issues, there was good news on Friday night that got swallowed up by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas lawsuit. The feds have already exercised their option to buy another 100 million doses from Moderna after the initial 100 million doses are delivered:

Of the first 100 million doses purchased by the U.S. government, approximately 20 million doses will be delivered by the end of December 2020 and the balance will be delivered in the first quarter of 2021. Today’s new order of 100 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter of 2021. These deliveries are subject, in each case, to receipt of an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the vaccine.

Under the terms of the agreement, Moderna will continue to leverage the Company’s U.S.-based manufacturing infrastructure to supply mRNA-1273 to the U.S. government. As part of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government has the option to purchase up to an additional 300 million doses of mRNA-1273 from Moderna. The Company expects the U.S. government will provide the vaccine to Americans at no cost as previously announced…

“Securing another 100 million doses from Moderna by June 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio of vaccines,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This new federal purchase can give Americans even greater confidence we will have enough supply to vaccinate all Americans who want it by the second quarter of 2021.”

Last week the Times reported that the feds had inexplicably passed on an offer to buy more than 100 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, creating a risk of a shortage here since Pfizer has international orders to fulfill too. We risk having to go to the back of the line for our next batch once the initial 100-million order is delivered. A week later, there’s still no good explanation for why Trump’s administration passed on exercising an option to order more knowing that Pfizer’s product is safe and highly effective, but the fact that they have an option to purchase up to 400 million more doses from Moderna surely has something to do with it. Moderna’s vaccine doesn’t require the same finicky “deep freeze” transport conditions that Pfizer’s vaccine does, remember. And there are other vaccines still in the pipeline which may prove just as effective as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s and may be even easier to deliver. For instance, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is a one-shot process, not two.

I think the feds took a calculated gamble that they’ll have better options than Pfizer soon-ish, and even if they don’t they have Moderna as a backstop to supply more than two-thirds of the population with doses — eventually. The wrinkle in the announcement on Friday was that Moderna doesn’t expect to deliver its second batch of 100 million shots until the second quarter of next year, which could mean anywhere from April to June. If none of the other vaccines in trials right now pan out — or if they suffer dismaying hiccups while being tested — that means we’ll have to make do with the initial round of 100 million doses each from Pfizer and Moderna potentially until summer.

I’ll leave you with this fun Twitter thread from last week. It qualifies as only a half-joke, not a proper joke, because our culture is exceedingly stupid and petty.