An intensive care unit nurse became the first person in New York state to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Dec. 14, marking a pivotal turn in the U.S. effort to control the deadly virus.

The first shipments of Covid-19 vaccine left on trucks and planes early on Dec. 13, kicking off a historic effort to stop a surging pandemic that is claiming more than 2,400 lives a day in the United States.

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2, against Covid-19 in individuals 16 years of age or older.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 17-4 to recommend Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for individuals ages 16 years and older.

AstraZeneca Plc will likely get results of the company’s U.S. Covid-19 vaccine trial in late January 2021 and could potentially file for an emergency authorization, the chief adviser for the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program said.

Healthcare workers and others recommended for the first Covid-19 inoculations could start getting shots within 24 hours after the vaccine receives regulatory authorization, the chief adviser for the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program said.

With both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration awaiting potential Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), airlines are preparing their cargo operations to ship the vaccines.

Americans defied pleas from state and local officials to stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday in the face of the surging coronavirus pandemic, triggering fresh warnings from health officials with the release of vaccines still weeks away.

Record hospitalizations and a surging death toll failed to keep Americans from traveling a day before the Thanksgiving holiday, raising fears that the unchecked spread under way is a prelude to further contagion at Christmastime.

U.S. officials plan to release 6.4 million Covid-19 vaccine doses nationwide in an initial distribution after the first one is cleared by regulators for emergency use.